Navigating the airport during the holidays (or anytime) with kids might be the worst part of the travel experience—well, besides the actual flight itself. If you’ve got a child who is a little older, though, it could be a great opportunity to let them test out their navigation skills.
That’s what Reddit user u/bcoop63143 did on a recent trip with their 13- and 17-year-old daughters:
We deplaned and I told them to get us to our luggage. This meant walking past 25 gates, navigating escalators, making the right choices on escalators, getting on right tram, exiting and ascending escalator then choosing the “red or blue” side of baggage claim and locating our correct carousel.
I walked behind them, 30 yards or so. I let them make a wrong decision and did not correct right away, I let them figure out the “fail and recovery.”
Navigating the confusing twists and turns of an airport is a life skill that everyone needs and is rarely taught until that stressful day when you first have to do it on your own. Allowing them to practice it at a young age—and under your supervision—gives them a chance to try it out without all the pressure of actually missing their flight (or losing their luggage).
You can practice navigation skills on a smaller scale with younger kids, too. Let them read the maps at the amusement park and try to navigate you to the next ride (if they make a wrong turn, you can always ride something else along the way). Look over bus or train schedules together and see if they can identify the correct stop or navigate you out of the terminal to the street. See if they can figure out how to locate your hotel room.
The experience will take a little pressure off them—and you—the first few times they have to navigate through a confusing area on their own.