The excitement of an upcoming trip can often outshine the reality of travelling with a toddler. Avoid the tears and tantrums that test your patience in public by following these successful travel tips.
Step 1: Packing
Aside from the everyday clothes, diapers, and wipes, packing a few key items can make all of the difference. Consider bringing along a blanket or stuffed animal that has special meaning to the child to ease the transition into unfamiliar territory. A bag of simple toys including a ball, book, or finger puppet is useful. If you expect to spend hours in a car or plane, pack an extra wallet with old cards, photos, and play money for your toddler to riffle through. Bring only the essentials to avoid weighing everyone down.
Step 2: Meals
A hungry toddler is an angry toddler! You should plan to eat a meal or snack every 2 to 3 hours to keep your child’s blood sugar and temper level even. Choose foods like fruits, vegetables, yogurt, wheat bread, peanut butter, or cheese. Children tend to refuse food if they have had too much time between meals. Try to avoid this situation by setting a time on our cell phone or watch and offering food frequently. It is easy to get dehydrated while travelling so encourage your little one to drink frequently. Offer water, juice, and milk to increase the odds of drinking enough.
Step 3: Entertainment
Travelling is exciting to children, so it may be awhile before you need to worry about keeping them entertained. Use toys as a last resort when trapped in the same position for long periods. Try games like “I see” and have the child complete the sentence by describing things that they see. Singing songs is another favorite toddler pastime and works well when travelling by car. The top two choices for quietly entertaining your toddler are stickers and an empty water bottle. Toddlers delight in learning to peel stickers from a sheet and deciding where to place them. Encourage them to stick them on their body and then name the body part which they have chosen. Toddlers can also spend hours mastering a twist top of a bottle.
Step 4: Rest
Being in new environments can be overwhelming for children, which can be further exasperated by changing time zones. Even toddlers who do not normally nap during the day should be urged to rest while travelling. After the child has eaten, played, and settled into a long-term position, it is possible to entice them to sleep. Offer a security blanket or stuffed animal and allow boredom to take its course. Some children cry just before settling to sleep. Simply remain calm and stroke the child gently.
Remember to relax during your trip and your child will likely mimic your serenity.