Thankfully, the days are getting longer and lighter and as the weather starts to brighten up this Spring, no doubt you’ll be planning lots of family trips out, or even away.
Travelling with toddlers can be stressful, there’s just so much to think about - but there are things you can do to make getting to your destination a far smoother ride …
How much planning should I undertake ahead of my family trip?
Children can be unpredictable - one minute your little one is happily playing with a toy or enjoying reading a book with you, the next minute they’re bored and are looking for something new to explore. As much as we all know that failing to plan is planning to fail when it comes to taking out babies and toddlers, it’s wise not to plan into too much detail.
This type of mood change is harder to accommodate when you’re out an about, but the key is flexibility. So be careful not to ‘over plan’ – sometimes your itinerary for the day will change no matter how organised you are.
How should I dress my toddler for a long journey?
When preparing for travel with children, the major factor to consider is the climate of where you’re going at that time of year. A trip to Paris will mean a very different wardrobe to a holiday in Florida.
But whatever clothes you take, the most important factor is that your children are comfortable. This includes making sure they can move around easily, don’t sweat too much and don’t find that their t-shirts are tight or itchy.
If your toddler wears trousers, leggings or jeans, think about whether the waistband will be comfortable if they will be sat in a car seat for any length of time.
Layers are the key to regulating temperature. An uncomfortable toddler is a shortcut to a difficult journey.
What should I feed my toddler when travelling on holiday?
The general consensus around travel snacks is not to give your children sweets or sugary foods and drinks. It might be tempting to pacify them whilst waiting for a flight or suffering a long coach ride, but avoid adding to the stress by inducing a sugar rush.
Savoury food are often a much better option, such as bread sticks and cheese. Fruits obviously still contain considerable levels of sugar but do not include the additives and chemicals that can come with processed sweets, and are less likely to cause the spike and dip in energy that can follow processed, sugary foods.
Ideally, your children should drink lots of water to keep hydrated whilst on the move, helping their mood and preventing headaches or dehydration.
Depending on your destination, your toddler may be exposed to new foods once they arrive and it can be a daunting prospect wondering how well they might adapt. Here’s a great list of some holiday foods your toddler could try for the first time …
Should I take toddlers on public transport when on holiday?
Yes! Many parents are cautious - with good reason - and want to make sure that their loved ones are safe in an unfamiliar place. But for many toddlers and children, public transport is just another adventure and if you drive them everywhere yourself, they can miss out.
Busy areas, and public transport systems that you might not ordinarily use (such as the London underground) are both exciting and terrifying for parents so here are some extra tips and tricks for travelling on public transport in areas such as these.
If it’s really cramped and there’s a high likelihood of the group breaking up, then this type of travel may not be appropriate. However, if you’re catching a bus or train that is reasonably quiet and you can keep your eye on your little ones, give it some consideration. They’ll love it!
How can I keep my children occupied on long journeys?
The question on every parent’s mind when going on a holiday! There are many ways to make sure your children have fun but that they are also calm and manageable. These can apply whether you’re on a plane or walking around in the city centre. Which is your favourite?
- Give your kids a camera - let them document their travels from their point of view. This is a lovely way to capture memories from their perspective,.
- If your children are a little older, give them a travel journal - their writing and reading skills don’t have to be forgotten when they’re on their holidays! And if they’re a little on the young side, encourage them to draw pictures of the places you visit.
- Give them their familiar toys and games - it’s common for children to get a little homesick so those favourite toys from home can really make them feel better about being somewhere new.
- Play word games - nothing beats the old classics, a lively round of ‘I Spy…’ or alphabet games.
- Give them a tablet or smartphone - children are definitely a lot more mobile-intuitive than we give them credit for. Gaming apps can save a lot of space if you use them as an alternative for board games etc, although it will be important to limit time on this type of device as you would at home.
- Give them stickers to play with - kids love stickers! It’s quite bewildering just how much they love stickers, so making sticker pictures in a notebook can help to pass time.
Our Fun & Funky bags are perfect for overnight and weekend trips – you’ll have more than enough room to take all of the above with you for the journey.
How can I keep my toddler safe on holiday?
Inevitably, the most worrying thing about taking your children on a holiday is their safety. It’s all too easy for children to get lost, get sick or become out of sorts because of the change to your routine and any of these can be your worst nightmare when they happen. But try not to panic unnecessarily because there are plenty of ways that you can make sure your little ones are safe, secure and happy…
Consider investing in a child locator. These can be a godsend if your child wanders off, which happens all too easily if they suddenly see something they like. If your toddlers find reigns upsetting, this is a potential option; however, if your child will tolerate reigns, these are a huge comfort, particularly in busy areas.
Your little ones not only need to be safe, but they need to be healthy too. Depending on where you are travelling to, your family could be exposed to diseases, parasites and weather conditions that they wouldn’t ordinarily experience at home.
You’ll need to clear about any booster jabs or vaccinations that your children may need well ahead of your holiday, but aside from those, there are other precautions that you can take to ensure that your toddlers and babies are as healthy as they can be.
Put yourself together a germ-killing first aid kit! This should include wipes, sanitizer, plasters, a high-factor sunscreen, thermometer, medication that you would have at home for your child and anything else that you think you could need. You’re unlikely to use even half of what’s in there, but you’ll be able to relax in the knowledge that you’re prepared for anything.
If your child is new to flying, take time to explain what will happen in clear detail, starting some time before your holiday so there are no surprises when your toddlers have to, for example, go through airport security. It can be unsettling for any first-time flyer, let alone young children, but as long as they know what will happen they will be far more likely to stay calm and relaxed and enjoy the journey.
We hope you enjoy your travels in 2014. Don’t forget to buy your essential Everyday bag with plenty of room to take out everything you need for day trips.