Tips for Traveling With Toddlers

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Tips for Traveling with Toddlers

  1. Try to start early and expect delays. When growing up, my parents would usually start our road trips off at 3am and I never completely got it, but I sure do now! When you start in the wee hours of the morning, the children are able to sleep while you get those first few hours of driving behind you. Don’t plan a marathon if you can help it. If your children are not used to being in the car, don’t plan to drive 18 hours in a single day. Try to break up the drive so that it is fun for both the children and Mom and Dad.
  2. Keep your children’s favorite snacks on hand. It is amazing just how much a favorite snack can help to keep a tired toddler a bay. Also make sure you pack plenty of bottled water and a few favorite drinks of choice.
  3. Pack toys that will keep your child engaged. Depending on how you will be traveling will determine how much you can pack but make well thought out choices of toys and books to bring along. Adding in a few favorites with a few new toys or books can help to keep your little one happy, just don’t give them to them all at once. On our trip last summer when we were traveling from Arkansas to Florida I created a package with new books, activities I had put together and a few interactive toys that I allowed the children to choose from about every hour. This kept them excited and engaged as they were getting something new, often.
  4. Bring electronics and headphones. If you are bringing electronics, pack a set (or two) of kid-friendly headphones. Whether traveling by plane or car, the third time through Barney, The Wonder Pets or when you reach the 10th episode of Dora the Explorer you will be so happy you brought them along! Even if you don’t let your children watch much television, traveling is a time I make an exception and it is worth it!
  5. Plan your days with your children in mind. Any parent will tell you, once a child is exhausted the tantrums magnify. Try to avoid the extra melt downs by not over planning. Some of us like to pack in as much as we can when we vacation but don’t forget that children are used to routines. Plan for down time and maybe even squeeze in a nap or two; you may really enjoy it yourself!
  6. Embrace as much routine as possible! Whether it be your child’s favorite pajamas, blanket or bed time buddy, bring what you can to make night-time as easy as possible. Being in a new place can present challenges for children to peacefully go to sleep, try to make that transition as easy as you can by bringing as many familiar things with you.
  7. Pack a sickness kit. Okay, so you may not want to go there on vacation but *if* it happens, you will be so happy you did! We have dealt with ear infections, sour tummies and sinus issues. Being prepared for the little things that can happen will make it much easier to deal with in the middle of the night.
  8. Remember to be kind. Traveling can be stressful and even fun trips can be quite overwhelming. At the end of the day, we take our vacations to relax, re-energize and make memories. The bed times may be non-existent, you may allow them to eat more ice cream than normal but this is the time to remind yourself it is OK to relax on some things and make a few exceptions to keep everyone happy.

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