Friday, July 15, 2011

Kids Health!! Healthy Travel Tips

Summertime is usually synonymous with travel time.  In fact, next week I am packing up my 3 and 6 year old to travel by car, train and plane to the Midwest for 10 days.  I have a feeling I'm in for an adventure!  Traveling with little ones can be pretty stressful to say the least.  Trying to travel in a healthy and mindful way can be even more stressful, unless you plan ahead.  Along with healthy snacks, herbal products can be a great way to stay healthy during your excursions, and help keep you sane. 

My suitcase usually includes items to calm the kids, entertain them, and keep them healthy.  Here's a list of some of my favorite healthy & herb related goodies to pack for the kids.

1.  Snacks!  Hungry kids = whiny kids, so I try to plan ahead and pack some healthy snacks.  Our families favorites include the usual carrot sticks, apples, & non-sugary granola bars, but we also try to mix it up by baking crackers with dill, basil, or rosemary, packing dried fruit and nut mixes with herbal spices, or hearty whole grain muffins with lavender or elder berries.  Be sure to pack a water bottle and you're set!

2. Herbal tea bags and Emergen-C- Herbal tea bags are great for making calming or nourishing teas, but cooled chamomile tea bags can even be used for pink-eye or healing owies.  In case you're not familiar with them, Emergen-C packets are a great blend of vitamins in powdered form.  When added to water can be a delicious and nutritious drink for the kids.  I usually give the kids a 1/2 packet each.

3. Herbal First Aid Kit-more on contents of this in the next post!

4. Herbal Eye-pillow- These are really easy to make (see Fill them with calmative herbs such as lavender, chamomile, and lemon balm to ease little ones to sleep, even in unfamiliar places. 

5. Lavender "Monster" Spray.  Put a few drops of lavender essential oil in a spray bottle with 8 oz of water, add a tablespoon of witch hazel and voila!  A calming spray that can be used for everything from keeping monsters away to encouraging rest.

6. Regional Medicinal Plant Field Guide.- Hours of entertainment!  Kids love to page through the pretty pictures, and you can make a game out of identifying plants as you go into new places, even playing plant quiz games.  Definitely more interesting than reading Goodnight Moon over and over and over again!

7. Art Bags-I've filled each of my kids art bags with a felt roll filled with markers, pencils, and pens. See on how to make one yourself.  Then, I put in a journal (for drawing, pressing plants, writing poems about the sun, etc.), coloring books, and other goodies like a magnifying glass, cool stickers, or old postcards with pretty pictures.  Encouraging creativity can be a fun escape for the kids and you!

It sounds like a lot, but honestly all this stuff packs down small.  And really, wouldn't you trade that extra pair of shoes to skip the in-flight temper tantrum? 

Safe Travels,
Kristin Henningsen, M.S., C.H., R.Y.T.


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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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