Managing the Highs and Lows of Traveling With a Toddler
Vacationing is supposed to be a way to relax and unwind, especially while enjoying your time with family. However, when you’re traveling with a toddler, it’s not always easy to de-stress. As a parent, your responsibility is to keep your child safe while you travel, but it’s also important to keep them (and everyone else) as happy as possible.
If it sounds easier said than done, don’t worry!
It’s absolutely possible to manage your toddler while traveling and experience a fun-filled, relaxing vacation with your family. It just takes a bit of creativity, planning ahead, and some patience. However, as a parent, you’re probably used to utilizing those things in your everyday routine!
With that in mind, let’s look at a few ways you can manage the highs and lows of traveling with a toddler.
Making Safety a Priority
While older kids can put safety measures into practice on their own, you have to take care of everything to protect your toddler. That can add a lot of stress to your trip, especially if they’re not used to traveling and want to take risks or go exploring.
You can help to ensure their safety both before and during your trip. Before you leave, prepare everyone for your vacation with a few of the following safety measures:
- Pack colorful, easily-identifiable clothing
- Go over the “buddy system” with everyone so your toddler is never alone
- Pack extra supplies (including food and water)
- Designate meeting spots for each location you plan to visit
If you’re flying on an airplane, it’s also helpful to have a child restraint system to keep your toddler secure. For babies, that could include a car seat, but for bigger toddlers, you might consider a specialized safety harness or booster seat.
Keeping Your Toddler Occupied
There’s nothing more stressful than a bored toddler, especially at 35,000 feet. However, whether you plan on flying or driving, it’s important to find ways to distract and entertain your little one. It will make the experience more enjoyable for both of you, but can also prevent them from feeling nervous or scared if it's their first time traveling.
You know your child better than anyone, so consider bringing along a few items that will help to keep them comfortable and occupied while you’re traveling, including
- A tablet or smartphone loaded with their favorite shows or movies
- Art supplies
- Kid-sized headphones
You should also be strategic with your travel times. If you know your child tends to get cranky in the afternoon when they’re ready for a nap, consider booking an early morning flight. If you’re going on a road trip, try leaving about an hour before their nap so they’ll fall asleep in the car for the majority of the trip.
Get Back Into a Routine
If you love traveling and want your toddler to enjoy it, too, make sure they know how to adapt when your trip is over. It’s not uncommon for adults to experience the post-vacation blues, but your little one might have a hard time getting back to normal if they miss the fun they had on your trip, too!
You can help them work through the highs and lows of the travel experience by getting back into their normal routine as soon as possible. Distracting them with fun activities to do around the home can also help take their minds off the blues. Additionally, talk about your trip! Ask them about their favorite experiences, and go through photos either on your phone or by creating a book to commemorate the vacation.
By focusing on keeping your toddler safe and encouraging a comfortable and happy time, they’re more likely to start to enjoy traveling from a very young age. That can make future experiences easier on the whole family, and something you’ll