Traveling with toddlers
Vacation: an extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home
Anyone else experience the opposite of this when they travel with toddlers? Even though I only have one child, I find traveling MUCH more difficult to plan and enjoy with a baby in tow. The main reason is lack of sleep. My first trip to a cabin with my baby resulted in 2-4 hrs of sleep per night—MAXIMUM. I even know some moms who say traveling is completely out of the question until their babies grow up.
While vacation is no longer a time of relaxation for me, I still find deep satisfaction and fulfillment watching my child experience new places and things. I don’t want to give that up.
I am no expert on this whole motherhood thing yet, but I have learned a few things by experience and from amazing influencers like Cara from @takingcarababies. These tips have helped me form a flexible schedule to make traveling easier on my little one and on my own sanity:
Cara always says, “not rigid, but flexible” when she talks about her sleep training schedule. Our world shouldn’t revolve around nap time like it’s the center of the world. She tells moms not to fret about letting your baby nap in the car when other plans collide with your daily routine. Instead, she encourages it.
Practicing sleeping in the car seat and the stroller makes it so that when you travel and walk around Disneyland all day, your child will think it’s just a walk in the park. Training them to ONLY sleep in their crib can make mobility extremely difficult.
Having a bedtime routine has saved my bacon so many times. When we travel, I make sure to bring everything involved with my daughter’s nap time routine so that it’s familiar to her. We do the same thing everywhere we go:
- Blackout the room with blackout curtains to make it dark when you turn the lights out.
- Read her favorite books while we change her diaper.
- Put on her sleep sack
- Turn on the sound machine, I love this small travel-friendly wireless one from Amazon!
- Give her a warm bottle and sing a song or two.
- Have her BIBs pacifiers waiting for her in the crib, Liza sleeps with 3 or 4 BIBs pacifiers in case she loses one, so I don’t have to go in and find it for her.
Even though you might not think it, your toddler understands you! She knows when things are different and instead of trying to ignore the change and hope for the best, we can TALK to them and help familiarize them with new places.
Liza is almost 18 months and this works like a charm. When we get to our new place, we go set up her bedroom and let her participate. We help her get excited about her new bed (pack and play) and put familiar books and toys in it. THROUGHOUT the day, we play a game and “quiz” her on where her new bed is and remind her that’s where she’ll go “night night” later. She runs to it and loves it when we get excited and proud that she remembered.
Traveling with kids is so hard, but can be so worth it IMO! Let us know what your experiences traveling with toddlers has been like and feel free to add some tips to the list!!