#155 - Sensory Tips for Traveling With Kids

by Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC June 02, 2021

#155 - Sensory Tips for Traveling With Kids

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Sensory Tips for Traveling With Kids

For many families, traveling can be quite challenging. As the world is opening back up again and there are more opportunities to travel, in this episode we share some tips, tricks, and strategies to make your life and your child's lives just a little bit easier when you are traveling. Tuning in you’ll hear about what a sensory diet is and some examples of how it can be used to help both kids and adults cope with traveling. Find out how to prepare your child prior to the trip, what to do the day of the trip, how to help your child adjust when you get to your destination, and how to help your child decompress when you return home. For some great activity ideas to incorporate more movement into the experience, and a long list of tried and tested traveling hacks and products that we never leave home without, tune in today!

Key Points From This Episode:

  • Insight into what a sensory diet is and how it’s not necessarily related to food. 
  • How sensory diet strategies can be incorporated into travel. 
  • How to prepare your child for what's going to come prior to the trip. 
  • How to practice for the trip beforehand and the importance of visuals. 
  • Why you should plan more activities than you think you'll need. 
  • The benefits of visual timers and a visual schedule. 
  • Why you should pack snacks with different textures. 
  • An example of what a sensory diet on the day of traveling might look like. 
  • Sensory hacks that Rachel and Jessica have found and heard from the community. 
  • The importance of setting up a quiet sensory space for your child when you get to your destination.  
  • Why you should maintain your child’s routine in a new environment as much as possible.
  • The importance of empathizing with your child. 
  • Why you should allow some time for decompression when you get home after your trip. 


“Sensory diets really help kiddos and adults even, to regulate arousal level, emotions, feel calm, happy, organized. That's the goal with a sensory diet.” — All Things Sensory[02:02]

“Our goal is to create a well-modulated child and by incorporating these sensory diets and these sensory activities, they're going to learn what helps their body, what helps their nervous system function at its optimal level.” — All Things Sensory[03:16]

“When you get to your destination, the first thing that you want to do is set up a distinct place that is a quiet sensory space for your child to escape to when overstimulated. They know that that is their designated safety spot.” — All Things Sensory[25:38]

“Especially with our sensory kiddos, routine can be so calming for them, that when we throw them into a new environment, it's going to be really challenging, and they're going to probably have more meltdowns. Keeping as much the same as possible can be helpful.” — All Things Sensory[26:48]

Links Mentioned in Today’s Episode:

Sensory Diets 

Super Flyers:

A bed tent 

Noise cancelling headphones 

Essential oils 

Massage lotion 

Body socks 


A visual timer 

Baby wipes 

BrainWorks Sensory Cards 

Weighted blanket

Weighted lap pad

Weighted vest 

Water bottles with straw 


Therapeutic listening program


Stress ball 

Orbeez and our flower stress balls (video)

Foam balls 

Travel blanket 

Packing cubes 

Busy boards 

Busy boxes 

Big Lego 

Little toy figures of people and animals 

ARK Chewelry

Lego Sets

Ziploc bag 

Etch A Sketche 

Mini Rubik's Cube 

Bouncy band


All Things Sensory on Instagram

Harkla on Instagram

All Things Sensory on Facebook 

Check out our YouTube video on 5 Sensory Tips for Traveling



Full Show Transcript 

[00:00:01] RH: Hey, there. I’m Rachel.


[00:00:02] JH: I’m Jessica. This is All Things Sensory by Harkla. Together, we’re on a mission to help children, families, therapists, and educators live happy, healthy lives.


[00:00:11] RH: We dive into All Things Sensory, special needs, occupational therapy, parenting, self-care, and so much more. In each episode, we share raw, honest, fun ideas and strategies for everyone to implement into daily life.


[00:00:25] JH: Thank you so much for joining us.




[00:00:59] RH: Hello, everyone. Welcome back to All Things Sensory by Harkla. You are listening to your good friends, Rachel and Jessica. This is episode 155.


[00:00:40] JH: Last year, we put some handouts in the Harkla Sensory Club, that were all about traveling with kids and sensory diets and how to incorporate more movement and all that good stuff into traveling with kids, because it can be really challenging. We decided that it's time to revisit that topic and give you a podcast episode about how to put together sensory diets and help your kiddos feel successful during times of travel.


[00:01:11] RH: Yeah, especially now that when we're recording this episode, it is May, so we're getting ready for summer. Hopefully, people are going to start traveling more and maybe you're doing road trips, and the world is opening back up again. We also wanted to share some hacks, some sensory hacks, some products that we've found to be helpful. Just some tips, tricks, and strategies to make your life and your child's lives just a little bit easier when you are traveling.


[00:01:43] JH: Yeah. First, you want to make sure that you understand what a sensory diet is. We do have a podcast episode on sensory diets. If you haven't listened to that, you might go ahead and listen to that one first, or even after this one. That's a really great episode to listen to, to get an idea. Sensory diets really help kiddos and adults even, to regulate arousal level, emotions, feel calm, happy, organized. That's the goal with a sensory diet.


[00:02:17] RH: Yes. It's not related to food, although sometimes we like to throw foods into the sensory diets because of their sensory components, like they're chewy, or they're salty, or sour, that are beneficial as part of a sensory diet. When you're trying to understand what exactly a sensory diet is, we all most likely go through sensory diets without realizing, right?


[00:02:40] JH: Yep, we do. We have found as adults, we have found ways to organize our brain, organize our body, so that we can successfully get through the day. It could look like chewing gum to help you pay attention to a meeting, or make another example.


[00:02:58] RH: Putting your headphones in while you're doing your homework, or while you're working to tune out the background noise, so you can focus better.


[00:03:06] JH: Yeah. We all use these strategies. The trick here is to help our kiddos understand how to use these strategies to help them get through their day.


[00:03:16] RH: Yeah. Our goal is to create a well-modulated child and by incorporating these sensory diets and these sensory activities, they're going to learn what helps their body, what helps their nervous system function at its optimal level. We want them to implement these activities independently at some point. That's our goal with the sensory diet.


[00:03:34] JH: Yeah. Let's talk specifically about travel. Whether you're traveling with a car, going on a road trip, whether you're traveling on an airplane, which is my favorite. I love to fly.


[00:03:47] RH: I don't.


[00:03:47] JH: Rachel doesn’t like to fly. Either way, these activities, these sensory diet strategies that we're about to give you can be incorporated for either of those.


[00:03:58] RH: Okay. Let's jump into it. Let's start with before the trip, before you take your adventure, what are we going to do first?


[00:04:05] JH: First, you want to prepare your child for what's going to come. You want your child to know that you're going on a trip, that something's going to change. Even if your child is currently non-verbal, you can still talk to them and tell them. Part of them might understand. These kiddos understand more than we give them credit for sometimes. No matter what level your child is at, telling them and showing them what's coming is going to be beneficial.


[00:04:35] RH: Yes. That goes into our next topic, which is incorporating pictures and visuals and social stories and taking tours of the airport if you can beforehand, and riding in the car and practicing, doing a test run, packing the car and riding it in. Practicing using these activities that we're going to share today.


Maybe your kiddo is nonverbal at the moment, but if you show them pictures and videos, and YouTube has a ton of videos of airports and flying. We actually even have a book to recommend from Dr. Lori Baudino. She wrote a book that we will link in the show notes as well, that would be helpful for parents to read. Visuals are helpful for everyone.


[00:05:18] JH: I was even thinking, if you're going to go on a road trip, maybe printing off some pictures of the different places that you're going to travel to and the different scenery that you're going to experience, especially with kids, you're probably going to make more pitstops. Seeing if you can visually plan this out and almost have a visual book of what the trip is going to look like, so that your child can look at that beforehand, and maybe even use it during the trip.


[00:05:48] RH: Oh, absolutely. Now, it's going to be a lot of work.


[00:05:53] JH: That's true.


[00:05:54] RH: Traveling with kids, as I'm finding out, is not easy.


[00:06:01] JH: That's true.


[00:06:02] RH: This is just one more step to take. You know what? Just think of it as a little extra work, but it's going to make your lives so much easier when you're actually traveling. You've got this.


[00:06:15] JH: Another thing before your trip, is going to be to plan for emergencies. If you have a kid that's like my kid, seven-and-a-half-year-old, who gets hurt constantly, you're going to want a first aid kit. You also want to plan plenty of activities, or games to stay busy. Because sometimes, it's good for kids to be bored and experience boredom, but not really when you’re traveling.


[00:06:42] RH: Not in the car. Not on the plane.


[00:06:45] JH: No. Not when you're traveling. When you're traveling, you want to keep your kid busy. You want to plan more activities than you think you'll actually need.


[00:06:54] RH: Yeah. Have a secret stash of emergency activities, or foods, or candy. No, not candy.


[00:07:01] JH: I mean, maybe some sugar-free candy. If you're looking for less sugar in your life, which probably we all are, but some sugar-free candy that your kiddo can use. Also, make sure that you're not going to bring out all of the toys and activities all at one. We can talk about that a little bit more. When you are in the middle of your trip and your kiddo is playing with a toy, and they get bored of it within a minute or two, see if you can engage them in new different ways with the same toy, so that you don't have to get a new toy out right away, so that you're engaging longer with each toy to make them last longer.


[00:07:40] RH: Yes. In addition, we always recommend using visual timers and visual schedule. Have those planned and whether you're using an app on your phone, or if you actually have a timer to bring, or a sand timer. We'll link some of our favorites in the show notes as well. This is so helpful, so a child knows how much longer they have to sit, when they can get up and move, what's expected of them. We want them to realize those expected behaviors.


[00:08:08] JH: Along with planning and making sure you have enough activities and games, make sure you have enough snacks. We mentioned sugar-free candy, but also any snacks that are chewy, crunchy, hard, giving a lot of input to the oral structures, because as Rachel mentioned in the beginning, the oral motor input can be super beneficial for everyone.


[00:08:32] RH: Absolutely. Even changing the flavor can be really impactful as well. Maybe you have a sour, chewy candy, like a Hi-Chew, the sour Hi-Chews. Those are great, because they're chewy and they're sour.


[00:08:46] JH: Hi-Chews are so good.


[00:08:47] RH: They're the best. Yeah. Using sour spray is helpful. Using that almost as a – something to look forward to. As soon as we land the airplane, we get a squirt of sour spray, or when we start the descent, you get a squirt of sour spray. When we get to the bottom, we get a squirt of sour spray. Whatever you need to do. Those types of foods and flavors can be really helpful and that's what we were talking about at the beginning with the sensory diet food items.


[00:09:18] JH: Yes. Okay, so let's talk about the day before you leave for your trip. You want to help your child complete a sensory diet routine the day before, because chances are your child is probably feeling anxious, even if they can't verbalize it to you. They know something's happening, something's different. You want to incorporate some good, calming sensory activities the day before you leave.


[00:09:45] RH: They can probably sense your anxiety and your stress as well.


[00:09:48] JH: Oh, for sure.


[00:09:50] RH: You are getting the bags packed and they're seeing the bags packed. You're trying to chaotically get everything planned and organized and they are definitely feeding off of you and your emotions. Remember that. If you can try to take moments to sit down and meditate and take deep breaths, so they can see you doing that, that will be really helpful that day before and as you're prepping for the trip. Like Jessica said, the day before, add in tons and tons of sensory input, even the day of before you leave, if possible. I know sometimes, you leave really early. I know one thing that we've done. I mean, I only have a eight-month-old right now, but keeping him out of the car seat, or the stroller, or a pack as long as we can before we get in the car.


You have a long drive to the airport, but let them – don't carry them through the airport. Let them walk through the airport, or let them run through the airport. Just put those sensory goggles on and think, “How can they have free movement?” Get their wiggles out. Get that input, without being strapped into something.


[00:10:57] JH: That's such a great point. Even, yeah, for those older kids, if they're going to need to be sitting in the car, sitting in the airplane for a longer period of time, getting as much movement in as possible. At the airport, Logan and I just went on a trip to Arizona a couple months ago. We had spent quite a bit of time in the airport in layovers. Just walking back and forth. If there's two adults, that's a great opportunity to maybe have one adult down at the other end of the airport, and your child can run safely back and forth between two parents, or two adults, or an older child. Get creative and just let your child have that movement without fear of judgment. Even if somebody nearby is looking at you and judging you for what you're doing, just ignore them.


[00:11:46] RH: Yeah. Then a quick thought is, if you're nervous about your kiddo running through the airport and getting that input in, bring a helium balloon and just attach it to their shoulder, or if they have a backpack.


[00:11:59] JH: To their backpack. Yeah.


[00:12:00] RH: That way you can see him and you have a little bit of – you have a little more peace of mind knowing that they're running to the opposite side of the airport, but you can still see them. I'm not saying let them run free.


[00:12:11] JH: Crazy.


[00:12:12] RH: Just everything in moderation. A helium balloon might be something helpful to at least have at the airport. I know you can't take it on the airplane, right?


[00:12:21] JH: I have no idea.


[00:12:22] RH: I don't know.


[00:12:23] JH: Can you take a helium balloon through security?


[00:12:27] RH: I don’t know.


[00:12:28] JH: I bet you could, especially with kids. You get a lot more leeway through security with kids.


[00:12:34] RH: True.


[00:12:35] JH: Okay. Anyways, let's get back to it.


[00:12:36] RH: Someone’s going to have to try that and let us know if it's possible on their next trip.


[00:12:41] JH: Okay. Last thing, before you leave the day before, have your child help you pack. Depending on their age, you can help them make the list of what they're going to need. You can have them actually pack their own clothing. This is a great life skill. It's going to take a little bit of extra time, a little bit of extra work, but it'll be worth it, especially if you do it every time you take a trip, because eventually, they're going to get enough practice and that they can be more independent with it. That is the goal.


[00:13:12] RH: It is. I'm just thinking, I'm reading this book right now, that's all about teaching kids from the start to have responsibility. If we let them go play on the iPad, or go play while we're packing and doing these chores, they're going to think that that's what's expected of them when these chores and these activities need to be done. If we let the toddler who was screaming, “Let me help. Let me do it. I can do it.” If we just let them do it and let them do it poorly.


[00:13:36] JH: More messy than you would do it, that's okay.


[00:13:39] RH: That is the goal.


[00:13:41] JH: Here's the thing. If your toddler throws everything in their bag and it's a mess and it drives you crazy, after they go to bed, you can organize it.


[00:13:51] RH: You can.


[00:13:52] JH: Let them have some control to help with the events that are happening.


[00:13:57] RH: Absolutely. For those older kiddos, it's a great executive functioning task to let them pack and prepare and figure out what's needed from point A to point B, and the weather and the activities and, “Do I have everything?” It is such a good activity and you just think about for yourself how hard it is. 10 times harder for these kiddos who might struggle with that.


[00:14:17] JH: It'll get easier, the more that we let them do it. Your kids might surprise you with how well they actually do it.


[00:14:25] RH: Weird. Right? Just saying.


[00:14:27] JH: Give them some credit.


[00:14:28] RH: Give them some credit.


[00:14:30] JH: Okay, so like Rachel mentioned, giving our kiddos as much movement as possible the day before and the day of travel is huge. Putting together a quick sensory diet routine for the day of travel. If you have time before you actually leave, then this is going to be a great thing to incorporate.


[00:14:51] RH: Let's do a quick example of what a sensory diet in the morning before traveling might look like. First thing I would probably do is have some vestibular input. Maybe doing 10 frog hops across the room. Sorry, I thought we're going to switch.


[00:15:09] JH: Okay. I didn't know.


[00:15:12] RH: Yeah. After the frog hops, maybe they're going to crawl through a tunnel, either a pop-up tunnel, or one that you have made, or they crawl under the table as a tunnel.




[00:15:24] RH: We just want to take a minute and talk to you about our company, Harkla. Our mission at Harkla is to help those with special needs live happy, healthy lives. Not only do we accomplish this through the podcast, but we also have therapy products, easy-to-follow digital courses and the Harkla Sensory Club, to try to bring holistic care to you and your family.


[00:15:42] JH: Listeners of the All Things Sensory Podcast get 10% off their first purchase at Harkla, with the discount code Sensory. We'd recommend checking out some of our bestsellers, like the compression sensory swing, weighted blankets, or our course on sensory diets.


[00:15:57] RH: Here's the best part, 1% of each sale gets donated to the University of Washington Autism Center to support autism research and fund scholarships to families in need to receive in-clinic therapy for their child.


[00:16:09] JH: Learn more about Harkla, and all we have to offer at harkla.co. That's H-A-R-K-L-A.-C-O. Don't forget to use the discount code Sensory to get 10% off your first purchase. That's S-E-N-S-O-R-Y for 10% off.


[00:16:30] RH: The best part is all Harkla orders come with a lifetime guarantee and free shipping.


[00:16:37] JH: You really can't beat that.


[00:16:38] RH: No.


[00:16:39] JH: Yeah, you can't. Okay, let's get back to the show.




[00:16:43] RH: Then the next one that we might have them do is if you can set up bubble mountain, have them blow bubbles with a straw, or just grab some bubbles and have them blow bubbles. If you don't have bubbles, just have them blow a cotton ball across the floor. If you don't have a cotton ball, what do you do? No, I’m just kidding.


[00:17:03] JH: What are you doing with your life when you don’t have cotton balls or pom-poms?


[00:17:06] RH: Yes. That's the next item.


[00:17:08] JH: Okay. That was a pretty short, simple one. That's perfect for a younger child to just go through that quick movement sequence a couple of times before they get in the car.


[00:17:19] RH: All three of those items repeat three times.


[00:17:22] JH: Older kiddos, or more active kiddos might need more movement, might need more vestibular input, they might need some swinging or some spinning, followed by more deep pressure. Maybe more heavy work, or getting underneath some pillows and cushions and getting squished. It really is dependent on your child, but give them what their body needs.


[00:17:45] RH: Ask them what their body needs. Say, “Do you want more spinning, more swinging? Do you want more squeezes? What makes you feel the best?”


[00:17:53] JH: Another trick is going to be more heavy work during these transitions. In between the car and the airplane, or in between the house and the car, they’re carrying their heavy backpack, they're wearing a weighted vest, they’re using a weighted lap pad in the car and on the airplane. Using those little strategies during the travel too, is helpful.


[00:18:13] RH: Absolutely. There's always those fun floor patterns at airports, or cracks on the sidewalk. Having them hop from spot to spot in the airport on one leg, on both legs, have them try to avoid stepping on the cracks, and so they have to hop over the cracks on the sidewalks. Even you stop at a rest stop have them do that same silly pattern. Maybe do log rolls down a hill on the grass.


Okay, so let's move on to just some helpful items to pack or to purchase before your trip. Like I said, take them or leave them. These are just some things to incorporate with more of a sensory approach during your trip.


[00:18:56] JH: Should we rapid fire these?


[00:18:58] RH: Yeah, let's rapid fire and we will link them in the show notes as well, so you can find our favorite brands.


[00:19:07] JH: Okay. The first one is?


[00:19:08] RH: A bed tent. This is a tent that just goes over their bed, their mattress, their sleeping bag and it just is enclosed. You can zip them in there, so they have that security.


[00:19:19] JH: Noise cancelling headphones. This is perfect for busy airports, or drives, long drives where there's a lot of other people in the vehicle.


[00:19:28] RH: Yup. Essential oils are great for regulation. They're great for increasing arousal level, or decreasing. You want to practice with these beforehand, so you know what scents help your child the best.


[00:19:41] JH: Bringing some lotion for some massage, that massage, that deep touch pressure is very calming. If you use a little bit of scented lotion, that can also help with the calming input.


[00:19:51] RH: Body socks are great, and so easy to pack. Helpful for in the airport, helpful for in the car or jumping out of the car, at a rest stop.


[00:20:02] JH: Bubbles. I don’t think we –


[00:20:04] RH: Enough said.


[00:20:05] JH: Yeah. We need this. Just bubbles.


[00:20:07] RH: Yup. A visual timer, like we mentioned earlier. There are lots of different kinds. Again, prep beforehand to figure out which one works best for your child.


[00:20:16] JH: Baby wipes. Let's be real. This is perfect for kids of all ages.


[00:20:21] RH: This is perfect for adults.


[00:20:24] JH: Yes.


[00:20:25] RH: We do love BrainWorks cards for sensory diet. It's from SensationalBrain and they are me very simple visual cards that you can use for your sensory diets.


[00:20:35] JH: We mentioned this already, but a weighted blanket, or a weighted lap pad, weighted vest.


[00:20:41] RH: Water bottles with straws are perfect for more proprioceptive input to the mouth.


[00:20:47] JH: Sunglasses. This is great for decreasing overstimulating visual input inside, or outside.


[00:20:56] RH: Yup. Bring your music, or if you're using a therapeutic listening program, bring that, so you can stay on track with your therapy.


[00:21:05] JH: Either bring more straws, or use your straw from your water bottle for blowing and sucking activities.


[00:21:12] RH: Stress balls and squeeze balls. Probably bring some that can't break. We've posted videos of our Orbeez and our flower stress balls that we've made. For a trip, probably take one that you can't break.


[00:21:28] JH: Even one of those foam balls. Then, we've said it a couple times. We're going to say it one more time, because it's so beneficial. Sensory snacks, crunchy, chewy, sour, spicy, all that raw motor input.


[00:21:46] RH: Yup. Okay, let's talk about some sensory hacks that we found and we've heard from our community to make traveling a little bit easier. The first one for those kiddos who are sensitive to toilet flushing, if you can take a post-it note and cover the auto sensor on the toilet, it won't flush automatically, so your child can flush when they are ready.


[00:22:08] JH: Yup. That's a great idea. Having your child practice beforehand, and then using this strategy during, going through airports, or while traveling through busy environments is to have their hands in their pockets while they're walking. This decreases the ability to touch everything, especially if you have a seeker, who wants to touch everything. Maybe put some fidgets in their pockets.


[00:22:31] RH: I was going to say, yeah. Have those in there.


[00:22:34] JH: Put some fidgets in their pockets, so that they can fidget with their hands while they're walking.


[00:22:38] RH: Always, always, always pack a travel blanket that rolls up, or folds up into a bag almost, and you can put it on the floor, you can put on the airport, on the grass. That is just a staple. They're usually waterproof, too.


[00:22:52] JH: Packing cubes. I don't think we need to say more for that. That’s such a great hack.


[00:22:58] RH: They make a big difference. Let your child pull or carry the suitcase, or wear a heavy backpack. We talked about that a little bit earlier.


[00:23:07] JH: Yeah. Letting your child pull the suitcase gives them a sense of control, while also giving them a lot of heavy work.


[00:23:13] RH: Yes. We also love busy boards and busy boxes. Head to Target, head to the dollar store before your trip and pack some new treasures in the busy boxes, or just put together a busy board, or even buy one on Etsy. We’ll link some there as well on our show notes. If you're going to make your own busy box, we'll give you some ideas on what to put in them.


[00:23:38] JH: For young children, or toddlers, getting some fidgets that can't easily be swallowed, so be a little mindful of that. Fidgets are great.


[00:23:49] RH: Big Legos. Those chunky big Legos that they can build really easily. They won't need help. They can just do it on their own. Those are super fun.


[00:23:58] JH: Little toy figures of people, or animals. Those are great for imaginative play.


[00:24:05] RH: Chewelry is great. Things from arc therapeutic, that they can chew on and spin. I know they've got chewable fidgets and spinners and things like that. Those are a go-to to have in there.


[00:24:19] JH: Then a stress ball. Stress balls are small. They're easy to put in a little box and they're great fidgets and tools to use.


[00:24:27] RH: Now for older kiddos, things like a new Lego set that they've never put together, that would be fun. Then just make sure that you pack a Ziploc bag to put all of the pieces in.


[00:24:37] JH: Oh, yeah. A Ziploc bag is a lifesaver. Older kids benefit from stress balls and fidgets as well. They're perfect for all ages.


[00:24:47] RH: Etches sketches, those boogie boards, the drawing boards, something to draw on that maybe gives them a little bit of opportunity for creativity and those fine motor skills as well. Just whatever they're into. I mean, this is hard to say exactly what to pack, but just find stuff that will capture their attention and it's novel.


[00:25:08] JH: I was just thinking, maybe a mini Rubik's Cube.


[00:25:11] RH: Oh, yeah. Those are fun.


[00:25:12] JH: Might be fun. Then definitely, some oral motor activities. Maybe some wrapped candy, some wrapped gum that can go in the busy box.


[00:25:23] RH: Yes. Okay. There's an idea for some busy boxes. Now while away from your home, so you get to – you made it on the airplane, you made it to your destination, you survived –


[00:25:36] JH: Barely, probably.


[00:25:36] RH: You made the road trip okay. When you get to your destination, the first thing that you want to do is set up a distinct place that is a quiet sensory space for your child to escape to when overstimulated. They know that that is their designated safety spot.


[00:25:53] JH: This is the perfect place to put that bed tent, to put their busy box, to put their pillow blanket, weighted blanket, put their comfort items in this safe space.


[00:26:05] RH: Yup. Use those visuals, attach them to the wall. We should have said, bring some painter’s tape, so you can stick them on the wall safely, wherever you're at.


[00:26:12] JH: Maybe you just buy some when you get there.


[00:26:14] RH: There you go. Your child knows that this is their corner, this is the schedule, this is what's expected. Just having that safe place set up, where they – It's almost like a routine away from their home, that is very similar to what you have going on at home. That would be helpful.


[00:26:29] JH: Yeah. Going along with that, trying to keep some things the same as when you're at home. Maybe bedtime is the same, or maybe breakfast is the same. Keeping some things the same will really help your child to feel less anxious, because change is hard. Especially with our sensory kiddos, routine can be so calming for them, that when we throw them into a new environment, it's going to be really challenging, and they're going to probably have more meltdowns. Keeping as much the same as possible can be helpful.


[00:27:03] RH: I just had a random thought that this is out of order of our podcast, but I'm going to go back. When you're on the airplane or in the car, take a bouncy band. Just have it strapped to the bottom of the airplane legs, or the car legs, so they can kick and bounce against that.


[00:27:18] JH: Somewhere. Yeah, you build up, figure out somewhere. Even just one of those exercise bands.


[00:27:22] RH: Exactly. Yeah.


[00:27:23] JH: Yeah, put that on your list. Absolutely.


[00:27:27] RH: Okay, so the last thing here is empathy. Just remember that change is hard, changes in routine is so disorganizing. Empathize with your child, empathize with the rest of your family. Just take it slow, one day at a time, lots of deep breaths, and give yourself grace.


[00:27:48] JH: Then also, when you get home after your trip, think about how tired you are. I know, I'm always so tired when I get home from a trip. Think about how you feel when you get home and maybe times 10 that for your kid. Your kid is going to be exhausted. They're home again, but they're still feeling out of whack, especially if you were in a different time zone. That makes it really tricky, too. After your trip, when you get home, allow some time for decompression. Allow a day of just relaxation. Get outside.


[00:28:27] RH: Definitely. Don't put a lot of expectations on your child that first day. Don't initially say, “Go and pack your suitcase. Do the chores. Do this. Do that.” Just let them be, let them play, like Jessica said, get outside. That's going to be the number one thing to help get them grounded again.


[00:28:47] JH: Yup. I think that's it.


[00:28:49] RH: Wow.


[00:28:50] JH: Okay. Nice. That's all we got.


[00:28:51] RH: Yay. Hope that was helpful for everyone.


[00:28:53] JH: If you like this episode, let us know. Leave us a review on iTunes. Reach out on social media. Share with your friends and family.


[00:29:02] RH: Oh, definitely share this with your friends and family. That's a great idea, especially if you're going to be traveling with friends and family.


[00:29:07] JH: Yeah. We’d love to hear your thoughts on what strategies you use when traveling. Send us a message on Instagram. Post a story and tag us. Let us know what strategies you use.


[00:29:20] RH: Yup. You can find us on Instagram @AllThingsSensoryPodcast, or Harkla_Family.


[00:29:27] JH: Or both.


[00:29:28] RH: Or both. We're hanging out there. We would love to hear your thoughts and we'd love to connect with you.


[00:29:34] JH: All right. We will talk to you again next week.


[00:29:37] RH: Okay. Bye.




[00:29:38] JH: Thank you so much for listening to All Things Sensory by Harkla. If you want more information on anything we mentioned in the show, head over to harkla.co/podcast to get all of the show notes.


[00:29:50] RH: We always have the show notes and links, plus full transcripts to make following along as easy as possible for everyone.


If you have follow-up questions, the best place to ask those is in the comments on the show notes, or message us on our Instagram account, which is @harkla_family. If you just search Harkla, you'll find us.


[00:30:10] JH: Like we mentioned before, our podcast listeners get 10% off their first order at Harkla. Whether it's for one of our digital courses, one of our sensory swings, the discount code Sensory, will save you 10%. That code is S-E-N-S-O-R-Y. Head over to harkla.co/sensory to use that code right now, so you don't forget.


[00:30:33] RH: We're so excited to work together to help create confident kids all over the world and work towards a happier, healthier life.


[00:30:39] JH: All right. We'll talk to you guys next week.



[00:30:43] RH: Just a friendly reminder, this is general information related to occupational therapy, pediatrics, and sensory integration. We do not know you, or your child, therefore, we do not know any specific needs. Therefore, you should always refer back to your pediatrician and occupational therapist for more information.


Check out our Top 5 Sensory Strategies On-The-Go






While we make every effort to share correct information, we are still learning. We will double check all of our facts but realize that medicine is a constantly changing science and art. One doctor / therapist may have a different way of doing things from another. We are simply presenting our views and opinions on how to address common sensory challenges, health related difficulties and what we have found to be beneficial that will be as evidenced based as possible. By listening to this podcast, you agree not to use this podcast as medical advice to treat any medical condition in either yourself or your children. Consult your child’s pediatrician/ therapist for any medical issues that he or she may be having. This entire disclaimer also applies to any guests or contributors to the podcast. Under no circumstances shall Rachel Harrington, Harkla, Jessica Hill, or any guests or contributors to the podcast, as well as any employees, associates, or affiliates of Harkla, be responsible for damages arising from use of the podcast.

Keep in mind that we may receive commissions when you click our links and make purchases. However, this does not impact our reviews and comparisons. We try our best to keep things fair and balanced, in order to help you make the best choice for you.

This podcast should not be used in any legal capacity whatsoever, including but not limited to establishing “standard of care” in a legal sense or as a basis for expert witness testimony. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy of any statements or opinions made on the podcast.

Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC
Jessica Hill, COTA/L & Rachel Harrington, COTA/L, AC

Rachel Harrington, COTA/l, AC, CPRCS, and Jessica Hill, COTA/L, CPRCS are Harkla's in-house Certified Occupational Therapy Assistants (COTA) and Certified Primitive Reflex Clinical Specialists. They have been working with children for over 6 years in outpatient settings. They specialize in creating easy-to-digest, actionable content that families can use to help their child's progress at home. Jessica and Rachel are the in-house experts, content creators, and podcast hosts at Harkla! To learn more about Jessica and Rachel, visit the Harkla About Us Page. Make sure to listen to their weekly podcast, All Things Sensory by Harkla for actionable, fun advice on child development.

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