Take the Kids

Ask Travel Nanny

Issue 2 · Summer 2015
· Illustration Miguel Gallardo

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

Issue 2 · Summer 2015
· Illustration Miguel Gallardo

Scott Dunn’s childcare expert Charlotte Radford shares her tips for globetrotting parents

We’re going on a long-haul flight to the US with a six- and four-year- old. What do you suggest to pass the time apart from watching endless cartoons?


Preparation is vital when it comes to long-haul flights. I would recommend taking a bag filled with a variety of activities to keep them occupied including colouring pens and drawing pads, sticker books, puzzle books, magazines and story books. Reading aloud to younger children is a great way to pass the time on planes. Alternatively, try audio books such as Roald Dahl for school-age children or Rumble in the Jungle for the younger ones.

If you’re travelling with a partner you should also agree in advance how you’re going to share the task of entertaining the children. Perhaps one of you could do the outbound journey while the other does the return – that way you each get a break.

If you have an iPad you’ll probably have apps designed to keep children entertained, such as puzzle apps or the CBeebies app for pre-schoolers. For older children, Angry Birds or Splashy Fish are popular. It’s probably unwise to let them spend too much time on screen-based activities, but don’t be too rigid about it – just see how the journey goes.

Don’t use up your whole bag of tricks in one go. Give your child an activity to do and wait until they’re bored of it before you get something new out. Finally, healthy snacks are a good distraction.






This summer we’re going on holiday to Tuscany with our two children, who are six and eight. How can I take the first steps towards introducing them to culture?

Children respond best to cultural activities where they can get involved – by trying on a costume or touching or tasting things – rather than being dragged around another boring old church looking at frescoes. In Tuscany we work with a number of properties, such as Castiglion del Bosco, where children can try activities that are cultural or complement cultural trips, such as landscape painting, horseback rides to local churches, visits to an olive oil mill, farm tours where they get to try local produce – things that have a cultural aspect, but not simply traipsing round the Uffizi in the heat at the busiest time of year.

Guides are great because they know all the relevant information relating to the sites and can tailor the trip to children. Kids love all the historical stories – especially the gruesome ones – that bring these places alive.

There are a few golden rules to keep in mind with cultural trips. Firstly, think about the time of day. Avoid visiting monuments when it’s very hot, and try to mix things up, so you might do a little bit of culture in the morning followed by a trip to the seaside or a water park in the afternoon. Ideally, choose a cultural trip that ties in with something they are studying at school, such as the ancient Romans. The important thing is to make them understand they’re in Italy, rather than just somewhere hot with a swimming pool.

If you would like Travel Nanny to answer your question in the next issue of Days Like This, email travelnanny@dayslikethismagazine.com

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