With much of the United States open, people are anxious to travel and get out of town! Nothing like a pandemic to give you a hard case of the Travel Bug, am I right?
With Florida open and tourists pouring in, everyone is ready for some summer fun! If you have a toddler, don’t let that stop you from making a trip and getting out. You might be stressing about how to travel with them this year since it’s probably their first time out in a long while, but with a little planning and some extra patience, you and your toddler can travel smoothly to your vacation destination.
Here are the best, time-tested secrets for traveling in a car or on a plane with toddlers.
Pack An Activity Bag
Traveling is boring if your attention span is only five minutes long. To counteract toddler boredom, pack a backpack or box (depending on whether you are flying or driving) with many different activities. Include things like stickers, bubbles, coloring books, and crayons, or this fun, mess-free, and reusable water book. Items like silly putty, an electronic device or game (with headphones), and a few favorite toys are also good options. Consider searching for “travel activities for kids” on Amazon. They have a great variety of activities to keep little ones busy. Plus, new toys are more interesting than old ones.
Snacks, Snacks, Snacks, and...More Snacks
All toddlers would say that “food” is their love language. It will keep them busy for the longest time, plus, it’s important to keep a toddler’s blood sugar levels stable. This prevents “sugar highs” and bursts of energy when you are stuck in a car or plane. Instead of sugary snacks, pack lots of yummy protein like cheese sticks, olives, apples, nuts, veggies and dip, trail mix, etc… Bringing your own food will also save on cash as airports or rest stops often charge more to travelers. Who knows, maybe a food coma will encourage an early nap!
Ask Your Doctor About Natural Sleep Aid
Some children can take natural sleep aids like melatonin if they are easily excited and have trouble winding down during travel. Some moms use lavender oil on their babies to promote soothing and calmness. Talk to your doctor about what is available to you so your child can rest and not be overly tired on your trip.
Fully Stock The Diaper Bag
Before you travel, empty your diaper bag and toss out anything that you don’t want to weigh you down. Diaper bags are notorious for collecting forgotten shoes, diapers that are too small, dirty clothes, and stale snacks. You don’t want to carry all that extra weight, so take this time for a quick clean and then repack it. As you pack, remember to include travel-size hand sanitizer, wipes, and diapers. An extra set of clothes for you and your baby is also a must because kids are talented at including you in their messes! Don’t forget the pacifier, a baby blanket, portable noisemaker, and a sippy cup.
Encourage Sleep Time
Even though you are not in your home space, try to encourage sleeping by changing your toddler into jammies, offering them their favorite blanket or sleep toy, turning on a white noise maker, and trying to have the rest when it’s their usual sleep time. If your child doesn’t take naps anymore, tell them that it is “quiet time” and encourage a rest period. An overtired child is harder to console than a well-rested one, so even if they don’t sleep, rest is still better than nothing. If you are driving, consider starting your trip during nap time or even at bedtime so you can ensure a quiet ride!
Prepare For Pressure
Chewy candy, a sucker, a pacifier, and drinking from straw are all good options to keep your little one’s jaw moving! The best way to avoid ear pain is to prepare for landings and take off with things that help with pressure and include Tylenol if the ear pain crops up anyway.
Sometimes, despite our best efforts, kids will be kids. They will cry and throw tantrums. It’s normal, so do your best to stay calm and comfort them. Don’t worry about what other passersby think of you. People understand and are often sympathetic. Traveling is hard, even without children. Give yourself grace, take a deep breath, get on their level, and stay calm. It will all be okay and you will eventually get to your destination.