Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Traveling with your Toddler

My husband travels for work on occasion and because we want to spend as much time as possible as a family, I pack up our things, including our 19 month old and we go.  Most of the time, this has been a positive experience.  I like having a change in environment and our son loves exploring new places.  However, in the last few months, our little man has become less agreeable about our travels.  He would normally talk to us until he fell asleep and then stay sleeping for most of our time on the road or plane.

Now, he is awake the entire time!  He is so interested in what is going on that he fights sleep and then becomes unhappy due to the lack of a nap.  What's a mom to do?

I'm finding that for us, it's all about preparedness.  Our diaper bag is full to the brim when it comes time to travel.  Here are a few things that make our drive or flight much more successful:

1) Changing diaper on time- It's easy to let a few hours slip away on a long car trip or when the fasten seatbelt sign just won't go off on your flight, but I try to keep my son changed just like I would at home, at least every two hours.  In case I do go a little longer, I keep some extra inserts in the bag.  Best Bottoms makes a snap-in hemp and organic cotton insert that is incredibly absorbent without being bulky.

2)  Snacks, lots of snacks- Packing a variety of food, such as apple slices, bagels, cheese, hummus and carrots, helps to keep him happy.  Although sometimes this results in a mess in our car, we found it's well worth it.  Plus, if we use the Itzy Ritzy snack bags, he takes his time fishing each item out and eating it.  Another less messy snack that we like are smoothies in the Sili pouch.  This is also a time consuming process which means more happy time for him in the backseat and mom and dad in the front.

3) Little presents-  Yes, this is a little silly, but I love to wrap small presents up for him and then dole them out along the trip at the most essential moments.  He immediately becomes excited at the sight of them and he works his fine motor skills unwrapping the presents.  Many times, they are actually things that we already have around the house, such as our Indestructibles books or his Pebble Snake Rattle.  We also play a game where he tries to figure out what it is before he unwraps it, so we listen, feel, and look at the package before he opens it up.

4) Never be in a hurry!- Sometimes just knowing that you might be late and planning for that can help to relieve the stress of traveling.  Give yourself extra time to get around the airport or try to leave at times where you will avoid rush hour if you're driving.  Also, its nice to find out where play areas are along your route.  Most airports, including BWI, have a kids' area that will allow your little one to burn off some extra energy before sitting down.  Things to Do at BWI

5) Talk about it-  Whether you're going to visit Grandma or you're traveling for work, it helps to let your child know where he or she is going and that you will be returning home.  I also like to let my son know what we will be doing on our trip, especially if it is something exciting for him to look forward to doing.  These explanations should be appropriate to your child's age as most toddlers have no concept of time.

Hopefully, this will be helpful in your travels.  If you have any other suggestions for surviving long trips, I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Mothering!
the Soft and Cozy Momma

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