It’s that time of year, you’ve started booking your family vacations, and making travel plans. I’m going to be honest, I don’t know anyone who has a flawless travel season, but let’s try and make it a little easier on you. Here are my Top 3 Tips for surviving travel with kids, making it more manageable and maybe even fun!
1. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible. This won’t happen 100% of the time, but do your best and go easy on yourself when it doesn’t. For example; if you’re going to be out late and you know bedtime will be off, don’t stress. Take your baby’s pjs along with you, and around normal bedtime get him changed, fed and playing quietly. For younger babies, put them to sleep in a dark room or covered stroller until it’s time to leave. Transferring when they are asleep can be disruptive but we all have to do it sometimes. Make this transition as smooth as possible. A good idea is to have them ready for bed before they arrive home; this may mean skipping the bath, or having one before you go out. Once home, feed in a dark, quiet room, and make sure you have a solid wind down.
- If you are sharing a hotel room with your child, this is a good time to implement a sound machine. Put the cot or playpen as far away from you as possible, you may even consider putting the playpen in the bathroom with the door open (if it’s big enough with lots of air flow).
- Bring your baby’s bed sheets from home, it doesn’t matter how great your bedding is, nothing compares to what you sleep with at home.2. Diet! The good kind. With so many tasty treats and dinners out, you and your children will likely be eating more sugar and empty calories. I am all for having treats, but I do know about the meltdowns that come with them. Make sure you have healthy snacks and offer them first, once finished then they can have the treat! Have healthy snacks that are nutritious and won’t leave your little one starving in 30 mins. Get your children involved, tell them they have X number of treats they can pick that day, be it 1 or 10, you decide what that looks like. This way they aren’t mindlessly eating sugar all day.
3. Time change and flights can be a very scary idea for many parents. I can understand that – no one wants to be the family with the baby who screamed the entire flight! Here’s the thing – it happens – so the best you can do is be as prepared as possible. Here are a few MUSTS for flying.
Pack a bag you will take as a carry-on that has enough supplies for at least 24 hours; bags get lost, and you don’t want to be scrambling all over an airport in between flights because you ran out of size 2 diapers and organic soy free formula. This happens, but don’t let it be you it happens to! Make sure you pack a change of clothes, and a clean shirt for you in case baby barfs all over you.
- I hope you have an umbrella stroller and you aren’t being “that guy” with your $2000 stroller struggling through the airport. Hey listen, I love that $2000 stroller as much as you do, but I promise you, you will regret bringing it. If you actually manage to get that 25 pounder through the airport and to the plane, you’re laughing, until they toss it in with all the rest of the luggage and your prized German work of art is now a pile of broken junk. You’ll thank me later. I highly recommend the Maclaren Techno XT, it’s a dream, you’ll use it for travel and so much more.
- Bring your carrier, and use the isle of the plane to walk with the baby. You might be worried people are annoyed you’re walking back and forth, but I assure you they would much rather that, than listening to your baby screaming.
If you have a toddler, bring lots of activities! Toys and books, and who are we kidding, the iPad is the best toy and babysitter you could ask for. Bring plenty of healthy snacks for them too, and try for snacks that take a really long time to eat, like popcorn (toddlers only).
If you’re nursing, make sure to do so during take-off and landing to help equalize baby’s ears. For older children, offer sippy cups and snacks at this time. Take-off and landing is also a great time to start nap or bedtime. It’s loud and the plane isn’t busy with people wandering around. If you can, book your flight at a time you know they will be sleeping.
- Print your boarding passes before you go. This is a small step that is so much easier to do without the children in a bustling airport.Remember, anything that will help make your transition smooth.
- As for time change, typically if you are traveling for more than a week you will want to have your baby adjust to the new time zone. If you’re only traveling for a few days, you may wish to keep them on local time.
- If they are waking much earlier due to the time change, have them stay in the dark quiet room for at least 30 minutes after they wake. Over a few days they should naturally start bumping their wake time on their own.Relax and enjoy the holiday, no matter where in the world you are. This is a time to celebrate together as a family. Don’t let the stresses of a schedule you have so permanently fixed stop you from being in the moment. A little bit of derailment might throw you off track temporarily, but it’s nothing we can’t fix!~ Desiree
Photo: Klik Photography
Desiree Cluff is the founder and operator of Rockababy. Born and raised in beautiful Vancouver, B.C, and educated at Erickson College. Desiree studied Life Coaching and Neuro Linguistic Programming, an approach to Psychotherapy based on the awareness of the power of language to affect behaviour and stimulate the mind.
Inspired by her desire to help others, Desiree knew from a young age that she wanted to work with children. She brings to the table superb communication skills, warmth and empathy and over a decade of experience with newborns, infants and toddlers. Her satisfied clients (well rested mamas!) claim she possesses magic pixie dust that she throws on their screaming and sleepless babies transforming them to great sleepers, sleeping 12-hour nights. The real key to her success has always been her personal touch. She spends quality time with each family and puts together a customized training program for them that she knows they can succeed with.
Desiree also acts as a child product consultant and teaches baby sign language. She assists families with other stressful times including transitioning toddlers from crib to big bed, potty training, and behavioural issues. In addition, she has extensive knowledge of healthy nutrition for babies and toddlers and helps her clients get off to the right start developing well-rounded, healthy eaters. Her greatest satisfaction comes from mentoring parents to become their own child’s expert.