Traveling with Toddlers
Who doesn’t love a road trip? Especially when vacationing with children, road trips seem extra appealing. Why? Because you don’t have to worry about your little ones disrupting other passengers on a plane and you can go at your own pace. Here are some tips on traveling with toddlers.
Time is everything. If your kid sleeps well in the car, plan your departure time to coincide with his regular nap time or bedtime so he’ll sleep through part of the journey. If your kid sleeps better in his own bed, consider leaving first thing in the morning or right after he wakes from his nap. Try to bend to your little guy’s regular schedule as much as possible, and he’ll be a happier traveler and so will you.
Break up the journey. I’m sure any parent will tell you it’s unrealistic to think you can drive for several hours straight with a baby strapped into her car seat. When she’s sleeping, stay on the road. When she’s awake, plan to stop every few hours so that everyone can get out and have a break. It’s important for her to get her wiggles out and a breath of fresh air.
When you change, keep it clean. Whenever possible, try to think ahead about when and where to stop for diaper changes and for your older child, potty breaks. Even if you pick a place that “looks” clean, never assume it is. Remember to give the changing table a quick scrub with a baby wipe or sanitizer wipe, in case it hasn’t been sanitized recently. Even if you’re using a changing pad, remember the back of the pad touches the changing table and then gets folded up and returned to the diaper bag where you keep your baby’s fresh clothes, food and formula! Yikes!
Stick to your bedtime routine. As much as possible, stick to the same bedtime routine you have at home, Do you put your kid into jammies, sing a lullaby and snuggle them up with their favorite blanky? Then do that in the car too. By roll down sun blocking shades for the window for nap time and pop a cd of baby’s favorite nap time tunes into the player in your car.
Baby needs a buddy. It’s no fun to have the backseat all to yourself. If a second adult or older child is traveling, have one person sit in the back next to the baby to keep her company.
Bring a toy box. If there is room next to your older baby’s car seat, place a large bin of her favorite toys within her reach. Let her pick out her favorites when she wants them and if you have the second person in the backseat, they’ll be handy for picking up dropped items.
Don’t skip the snacks. Make sure to pack not only baby’s favorite snacks but yours too. This is also good for keeping stops for when baby really needs them.
Have the necessities. There are a few items that are just plain must haves. They include:
- proper car seat. Make sure your car seat is safe, properly installed and clean before every road trip.
- Hand sanitizer. You’ll need it!
- plastic bags. They’re handy for soiled clothes, garbage and motion sickness.