Wonderful as they are, toddlers are not always the most easily adaptable creatures. Take them out of their element and they are prone to panic and shift into tantrum terror mode. While traveling with a toddler may not be simple, it’s certainly possible to enjoy your family vacation with your little one in tow.
Be An Early Bird
As you’re probably already aware, toddlers are at their most wide awake and alert far earlier than you’d like them to be. Most small children wake up very early and are ready to crash by mid-afternoon, so stick with your toddler’s natural body clock and time your days accordingly.
Aim to get all of your major sightseeing done in the mornings- head out of your hotel first thing to avoid the queues and busy crowds. Your toddler will have more energy to enjoy the day and you’ll be back at the hotel for naptime. Try to leave the evenings aside for relaxation, reading and watching movies in the hotel room and leave the night time exploration for a toddler-free trip.
Bring Home Comforts
Toddlers love their home comforts, so bring a few toys or ‘lovies’ with you on vacation that will make your child feel safe and comfortable. Don’t forget their favorite stuffed animal, blanket or pacifier- a vacation is definitely not the best time to separate them from items that they’ve become attached to. Keep a close eye on their comfort item while you travel; it’s all too easy to misplace Mickey Mouse while exploring a new city.
Stick With Your Routine
Most moms have their toddlers in a pretty regular routine by this age. Routines can quickly deteriorate once you’re in a strange place, particularly if you’re travelling across time zones, so it’s important to keep things on track to help your toddler feel comfortable and secure. Try to follow your usual feeding, naptime and bedtime routine to avoid excessive tiredness from kicking in and spoiling everyone’s vacation.
Seek Out Open Spaces
If you’re doing a lot of driving or pushing your little one around in a stroller for most of the day, make sure you look for some parks or playgrounds in the area to give them a chance to let off steam. Boredom and pent up energy can be real tantrum triggers, but a good run around in an open space can quickly settle your toddler down.
Pack Their Favorite Foods
Most toddlers are pretty tough to please when it comes to new foods, so prepare for the inevitable by packing plenty of their favorite snacks and meals ahead of time. If you’re going out to a restaurant, bring a sandwich that you know they’ll enjoy just in case they refuse the local delicacies. No matter where you are in the world, you should be able to find a handy local grocery store that sells old standbys like bread, cheese and peanut butter. Keep these on hand to ward off any tearful hunger meltdowns.
Offer Love and Attention
This probably goes without saying, but lots of affection and attention will help your toddler adjust more easily to new surroundings. Offer bedtime cuddles and check in with your toddler as much as you can throughout the day. While some hotels may offer babysitting services and activity dropoffs, more sensitive children will probably need familiar faces and love from their parents to keep them happy in a strange place.