By Kristine Johnson

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — As families get ready for the holidays, traveling with children can add to the stress.

“They say getting there is half the fun, but getting there is half of the challenge also when you’re traveling with young children,” pediatrician Dr. Harvey Karp said.

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From airport anxiety to flying frustration, leaving home for the holidays can take a toll on your mental health, and traveling with children is especially challenging.

“You’re taking a young child to an environment that they don’t know. Everything is new. Smells are new, sights are new, dangers are new,” Karp said.

If you’re flying, Karp says set realistic expectations and remember traveling with young children is different than when you’re alone.

Keep kids entertained. Have a bag of snacks and toys they haven’t seen before so they stay interested. Also, pay attention to their ears because a change in pressure can cause discomfort.

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“Having something for your child to drink is really one of the best things that you can do,” Karp said.

Once you’ve landed, Karp says it’s a good idea to make the child’s environment familiar, using stuffed animals, a favorite blanket or a noise maker. Bring what makes them comfortable at home.

“The more that you can reproduce the things that they’re expecting, the better,” Karp said.

If you change time zones, the doctor says get as much sun exposure as you can during the day. It will help little bodies get acclimated to new surroundings.

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If your child has a hard time sleeping away from home, Karp says to talk to your doctor for advice on how to handle it.

Kristine Johnson