Fans of the Duggar family know that they recently traveled to Asia to sightsee and get a taste of a culture very different from that of their Arkansas hometown. (Their trip is being chronicled now on their show, 19 Kids & Counting.) But as exciting as the journey was for them, parents Michelle and Jim Bob had a lot of preparation to do – and part of that prep was making sure that their younger children didn’t get too restless during their long flight.
A viewer asked Michelle on her TLC blog how she manages to keep her kids entertained on trips like this. (Seven of her children are ages 12 and under.) The answer: plenty of supplies and a lot of cooperation.
The family carries a large bag of favorite books, and the children enjoy reading together. “Johannah, who’s seven years old, teams up with Jennifer, who’s a bit younger and still learning her phonics,” Michelle writes. Even four-year-old Jordyn has fun showing off her reading skills to her siblings.
Each child has his or her own backpack of things to prevent boredom during travel; the younger ones carry crayons, coloring books and blank paper for pictures and notes. For the tweens and teens, card games help pass the time. “We don’t really give those to the younger ones because they might scatter the cards around the plane and lose them,” says Michelle.
And any parent who’s had to shell out more than they wanted for overpriced airport food will appreciate the frugal Duggar practice of packing their own snacks. They save even more by not buying the “individual portion” bags of goodies; instead, they purchase in bulk and put together a snack kit for each backpack.
“We usually take turkey or beef jerky, but for this trip we weren’t allowed to take meat into Asia,” Michelle explains. “So we had to take that out of our travel snack plan, but we have other snacks like raw almonds, peanut butter crackers and dried fruit.” Michelle and Jim Bob favor trail mix over candy and other sweets.
The family dynamic no doubt helps in situations like this, too: They spend most of their days together to begin with (the younger children are homeschooled), and everyone has jobs around the home, which gives them a sense of teamwork. The older children help with the younger ones, which makes things easier for Michelle as well.
With all this advance planning, it sounds as though the long international trip went as smoothly as possible. Still, here’s hoping that the kids took a couple of long naps along the way, too!
[Photo: via TLC]
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