City Mouse Country Mouse~Tips for Traveling in the City or Country

by Jessica on July 25, 2011

New York City Skyline

Whether you call the bustling city or the sprawling country or something in between your home, there are always things that kids need to learn to travel successfully in a new environment.

Speeding taxis, flashing signal lights, and intricate subway systems are sure signs that you have arrived in a big, bustling city.  If navigating a big city is not something you do regularly, there are some things you and your kids can do before your trip to make your time in the city safe and fun.

It’s nice to hold your little brother’s hand.  It’s nicer if your mom doesn’t have to make you.

1.       Crossing the street is a skill to practice.  If you live in the suburbs and don’t cross busy streets regularly, practice with your kids before you travel.   Teach them to look left, right, left before crossing and only cross at crosswalks.  I also like to work on crossing with everyone as close together as possible and no one is allowed to walk ahead of mom and dad when crossing.

2.       Walking down the street takes practice too.  In a big city, I like to keep my kids closer than I do otherwise.  It helps to have some tricks in your bag to help everyone walk together safely.  Mostly, I stress that the kiddos stay as far away from street as possible and close to mom and dad.

Riding the train for practice and fun

3.       While you are practicing, think about buses and taxis.  If your kids have never had the opportunity to ride in public transportation, you may need to have a lesson before you travel.   Teach your kids to exit the taxi only on the sidewalk side of the street.  Also, teach kids to exit a bus and take five big steps away from the exit.

4.       Strollers need special consideration in the city.   I am completely dependent upon my stroller for safety and convenience while traveling,  public transportation is not at all stroller friendly, though.  I have found it is easiest to use a small umbrella stroller or soft baby carriers.   You will need a stroller that is lightweight and folds easily for traveling on the subway or buses.   If you are stuck in the city with a larger stroller, you will have to do some research to find subway entrances that are elevator accessible.

Riding the subway in style

5.       Subways systems have their own set of safety concerns.  Subways are usually very crowded and the crowds are moving quickly.  If possible, soft baby carriers are the best method of baby and toddler carrying in the subway.   Small children need to be reminded that they need to hold hands and stay close.  Teach kids that subway platforms are not places to play.  I usually insist that my kids stay against the wall because I find the track so unnerving.  Also, teach kids that they should not board a train without a parent.  If for some reason your child gets onto a train without you, make sure they know to get off at the next stop and wait in the terminal.

Tons of trees and room to ramble beckon kids to new level of freedom as they explore the beauty of nature.  Kids who normally spend their play time on paved streets and city playscapes need to know a few safety rules before the wander out into the great outdoors.

All animals are wild animals~some wilder than others

1.       Teach animal safety and respect.  Remind kids that wild animals are wild and will not be predictable.  Children should learn to keep a safe distance and never tease, provoke, or feed animals.

2.       No Eating.  No drinking.   Berries and nuts found in the forest can be very tempting for little hands to pick and eat.  Warn kids that they should not eat anything that they find in nature without first checking with an adult.  Natural occurring water also may not be safe for drinking.  Teach kids to check before they eat or drink

Wading in a very cold Colorado stream

3.       Talk about water safety.  Wading in rivers and streams can be an exciting activity for kids in the country,  but natural bodies of water are nothing like swimming pools.  Even shallow water can have fast moving currents or hide steep drop-offs and dangerous debris.   Teach kids to look carefully before they wade and not to wade in water over their knees unless they have proper safety gear.

4.       Talk about the dangers of the trail.  Poison ivy and other poisonous plants can mean an itchy end to an otherwise fun outing.  Dress kids for protection, but also teach them to recognize and stay clear of poisonous plants.   Make sure kids know that old logs and piles of leaves can hide dangerous creatures like scorpions and snakes.

Walking off the trail on a dead log~Do as we say, not as we do

5.       Create safe boundaries.  Getting lost in the country can happen quickly and easily.  Teach kids to recognize landmarks, looking behind them to establish their bearings.  Remind kids to stay on the trail and if they are lost to stop moving and wait to be found.

This post is a part of Top Ten Tuesdays at Oh Amanda


Barbara July 26, 2011 at 10:06 am

Love your tips! I love my stroller, but sometimes it just isn’t practical, especially when some museums won’t let you take them inside. I find a carrier sometimes a more practical choice depending on the location.

Melissa Cleaver July 27, 2011 at 12:34 am

Thanks so much for dropping by the Be-Bop-A Blog Hop! I’m a follower and I hope you’ll stop by again soon! Have a great day! :)

Mama Spaghetti July 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

As always, awesome tips! We’re headed off to vacation next week, and I hadn’t even thought about the challenges of public transportation. Now I’m rethinking my packing list!

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