Modern children are not like us, and by ‘us’ I mean the generations that now find ourselves parenting these amazing kids. I’m quite sure that every generation has had their challenges and struggles with the attitudes or norms of their parent’s world, and yet there has never been a generational ‘norm’ shift quite like we have gone through in these last 25 years. Your children deal with super speed in every direction of their lives, instant gratification, same day delivery, food on demand, and screens replacing personal relationships.
This means that the parenting strategies that worked (or didn’t work) for your childhood are not appropriate anymore, for the world is a totally different place. And this applies to navigating holiday time together too. Travelling with your wonderful, modern children can be challenging, especially while there are uncertainties in place with coronavirus restrictions around where you may or may not be able to go, with whom, and what you might need to do to comply with any local rules and regulations during your time away and when you get home.
Before I take you through my guide to traveling with children, it feels important that you can get a feel for how and why your child is different from an energy perspective, and the familiar signs and patterns of behaviour that can show up because of these differences.
Their energy systems operate much, much quicker than most adults alive today (although there are some exceptions).
Nearly all of them are highly sensitive and experience the world at a sensory level that would baffle, confuse, exhaust and overwhelm most adults alive today. If you are familiar with the term ‘empath’ then this (multiplied by 100!) would be applicable here.
They are hardwired to understand collective consciousness, which means they feel the pains, the griefs, the losses, the uncertainty, the fears, the EVERYTHINGS in the world. As you can imagine, right now, that is more overwhelming than can be imagined!
All these differences may show up as social anxiety, self-harm, depression, eating disorders, panic attacks, extreme sensitivity to being around others, over-stimulation of senses, ‘playing up’ at the dining table, night terrors and nightmares, and so on.
If you want to learn more about the energy of your modern children and of parenting, you can read a blog post I wrote all about it, but for now, let’s move on to the ways you can best support your children and help to keep their energy system, and therefore your time away together, healthy, happy and balanced.
I love travelling, in fact I have recently returned from a week of being on holiday with my daughter. What a great time! She is a young adult now, towards the end of her school years, and it reminded me that travelling with modern children can present huge fun, huge intensity and with the occasional huge challenge thrown in. But I’m so glad to share my tried and tested navigational aids that I use every time I go away with my family. I’ve also seen these approaches work for my friends, family and the clients I worked with over 20 years in private practice.
Just for clarity, I’m using the word ‘children’ to mean 0-25 year olds (I know, I know, 25 year olds aren’t children, but it was about 25 years ago when I began to notice big changes in the energy systems of the very young. I have now watched those young babies grow and watched the subsequent years closely and continue to see the same energetic changes occurring, perhaps even more so now).
Down time when travelling
Modern children need more processing time. If you are the kind of parent who plans days, then plan in some down time. Perhaps it is just sitting in a quiet place in a park or a car, but for most of these modern children it will actually be in a room, lying on a bed or engaging with a screen. This is because their sensory input systems are much more expanded and developed than yours and they need down time to process out all of the noise and energetic intensity.
You may walk down a street and notice it is quite crowded, and perhaps you notice some of the clothes or the hair colours or architecture or whatever grabs you. Your child is noticing everything, and probably trying to slam up all kinds of defences to keep out the huge volume of energetic information coming in; that person's anger, this person’s addiction, this person’s grief, that person’s fear. Have you ever been in a concert that is so loud you feel your ears and head wincing? Well that is what it is like for your child. And for them that is normal.
However, when they are in familiar places (wherever you live) then it is more possible to dial it down, when out in new places their ‘energetic antennae’ are more focused, less secure, which means that there is no dimmer switch available for them.
Down time helps clear all of this energetic debris from their energy fields and reset them back to ‘them’ rather than ‘them struggling with everyone else’. This understanding can help prevent those horrible evenings of your child melting down just before dinner and the entire family feeling like the day has been ruined. If you had experienced all they had that day, you’d likely have done a lot more than have a melt down at the dinner table!
As a parent or guardian of a modern child you will probably be familiar with one of two experiences.
1. You go to a new place on holiday and for the first day or two your child loves it. Then gradually they get more strained and drained. They need more down time, less family time, they may need to miss out on family meals and have them in their room or a separate place. They are challenged being around you and keeping up with the itinerary and this shows up in withdrawal, melt downs or arguments.
2. You go to a new place and almost immediately your child is hyped up. Everything is exciting and stimulating, and they just keep getting higher and higher. Sugar fuels this hyperactivity and soon it develops more into hyper sensitivity. Now your child is ungrounded and in many ways unsafe for themselves. They begin to do things like running out into the road not seeing the car coming, or bashing into slower people walking down the road, or dropping what they were holding. They are distracted and in many ways, frantic. I have worked with so many boys like this, easily labelled as ADHD or troublemakers when actually their energy systems were unable to process as needed and so it is a bit like being inside the proverbial washing machine with your energy going round and round, crashing this way and that.
There is little that I can compare it to for parents who are not wired like these modern children and the closest I have seen is when a parent fears she/he has lost their child.
Have you ever been to a fairground/packed beach/festival and you and your child
have become separated. That huge crashing, overwhelming, panicking fear that
totally takes over every part of you. That is the only time I see older people’s
energy systems doing what those modern children experience frequently.
(Although to be clear, I’m not saying that there is always fear at play in the
modern children who go super hyper. Maybe, maybe not, I’m just using the
analogy to give you an example of a similar level of energetic/emotional
Book accommodation that is as quiet as possible
Staying at a hotel in a busy theme park may seems like a great idea at the time of booking, but in light of everything that I’ve written above, it can be much better for your child, your family and therefore your entire holiday experience, if you can get away from ALL THAT ACTIVITY. It doesn’t matter if they can’t see it or hear it, if they are sleeping within it then they’ll be being actively stimulated every waking and sleeping moment, which means by day three they will be strung out and exhausted. If you are visiting a city or a busy town try to choose accommodation that isn’t on a main junction or in a busy area.
Clear the room before you go to sleep
Ok, I know I’m getting into the realm of ‘woo-woo’ here, but you will notice such a difference in your child’s ability to sleep in hotel rooms or self-catering accommodation that I’d love you to temporarily suspend judgement as you read this, give it a go and then make up your mind. People have incredibly active energy systems while they are asleep.
Hotel rooms, motel rooms, Airbnb places, hostels, log cabins; no matter where or how you rent a room to sleep for your holiday travel they will be a massive repository of energy. Think back to when you have stayed away. Have you ever been in the room and...
Had an argument
Had steamy sex
Got on the phone to a friend and had a really good rant about something
Felt guilty, angry, resentful, excited, anxious, fearful...
Every emotion is an energy, and unless you are really trained at containing and harmoniously processing your own emotional energy(!) then that energy spills out of you and stays in rooms. You have definitely walked into a room/space/building and perceived that you felt ‘good’ or ‘happy’ or ‘a bit spooky’ etc. Every building and possibly every room has its energetic imprint. Rented rooms have super high turnover of residents, meaning that there is a lot of emotional energy that can be stagnant in the room.
When you are travelling with modern children then they will be greatly affected by this energy in their temporary bedrooms, leading to shallow sleep, fear, nightmares, or simply that groggy feeling the next day as their system struggles to process it all out.
Here are some simple tips
1. If possible get some good airflow through the room
2. Use the techniques in this blog to clear the room. You may find that your child loves doing this with you, or that they like you to take responsibility for this action. I generally have a little spray bottle of rose water with me and spray each of the corners of the room, giving gratitude to the room for housing us for the night and inviting all of the energy in the room to be balanced and healthy. I also do this before I leave. I don’t want to leave any junk for anyone else to have to process in their sleep time!
Avoid sugar, especially at breakfast.
Groan, groan, groan, the old sugar demon rears its head.
When a child, or an adult for that matter, has sugar then their energy system gets ramped up in speed and activity. This can mean that they become very ungrounded. I’m not going to go into the details of being energetically ungrounded here but I’ve written a lot about it so you can learn more about what it means and techniques that can help in any situation you feel you are ungrounded.
Essentially, from that point on, the already super-speediness and sensitivity of your modern child’s energy system is only going to struggle more and more to process the energy of the day. If you have experienced those days on holiday when things go from bad to worse, from the start of the day, then it is very likely that sugar was a contributing factor. I deeply believe in the sweetness of life, and that sweetness in food can so represent that, and yet there are many ways that food options for your modern child can suit them to be able to stay more truly themselves rather than their sugar-fuelled twin!
Exercises to help ground, calm and soothe your child (and yourself!) when travelling
In this video, you'll find a series of energy exercises to help reduce stress and encourage grounding and a sense of calm. You'll find lots more exercises on my YouTube channel.
I hope that this guide helps you and your family enjoy the deep times and joy of growing together while exploring new places.
Much love, Prune