Travelling with your toddler is special in more ways than one. For starters, the snapshots you make while on holiday, will become memories of a lifetime. Moreover, your child will get exposed to the sights and sounds of a new environment, which will help inculcate a great sense of adventure in the little one, early on. That said, travelling with a toddler requires as much planning as it does a hands-on approach, for the journey is bound to be full of surprises.
Here are some great tips to make the vacation relaxing and fun for you and your toddler:
1. Travel light
This can be particularly challenging for those who have trouble packing light for themselves in the first place. Here are the 5 golden rules of packing wisdom. One, buy consumables at the place of vacation instead of packing them. For example, if your baby is using diapers then carry the required supply for only the first two days and purchase more on your arrival. Two, in India you get seven kgs extra cabin baggage in most of the flights when travelling with an infant, so make use of that. Three, remember that a lot of items will be available in your place of stay such as toiletries, slippers, towels and so on. Four, don't carry your world. The idea of a holiday is to leave your baggage behind! Five, leave space in your suitcase to allow room for shopping. This means you need to minimise space-hoggers like shoes and, mix and match clothing instead of carrying too many options.
2. Fly smart
Plug your child’s ears well with cotton, during take off and landing. Also, feed your child milk or give him a candy to suck on during take off and landing, to minimise air pressure in the ears. Ensure they are appropriately clothed during the flight, dress them up in layers that are easy to take off, as per the weather. Once the seat belt sign is off, take your child down the aisle for a bit. This will ensure they don't get too stiff or restless.
3. Maintain the routine
There will be deviations while on holiday, but it is best to pace the itinerary as close to the child’s sleep and meal time routines as possible. You might be at the most scenic locale but if your child is cranky because of sleepiness or hunger, the fun can fizzle out. On all other counts, a holiday is a fantastic opportunity to teach your child the concept of adaptability, while having fun.
4. Carry the essentials
You don't want to be left high and dry while on the move. Carry a small first-aid kit that will fit in your handbag, for all emergencies. If you are on the road or on flight, make sure you have stocked up on toddler-appropriate finger food to tackle hunger pangs. This will ensure that your child does not become cranky and have mood swings because of an empty stomach.
5. Dump the checklist
Lower your expectations yet enjoy more. It is impossible to be a ‘checklist traveller’ and conquer the new land with a kid in tow. In fact, this actually paves the way for a relaxed holiday for all. Go to places that your child will also enjoy. Do some research before leaving, on the kid-friendly spots at your destination. Make sure there is space for him to move around freely.
6. Get your game on
Carry something that can keep the child happily occupied during the journey, without ruining her eyes. Avoid overuse of digital gadgets. Instead, you can carry your little one’s favourite toy, some colouring books or a picture book to keep her occupied. Also take along a good music playlist and encourage her to sing along.
7. Keep calm and breathe easy
Don't beat yourself down if your child decides to play it tough and creates a scene. There is no point in being too apologetic to co-passengers and curbing your kid’s joie de vivre. Most considerate folks are able to understand the challenges you are dealing with. At the same time, try not to snap back if a pesky passenger complains too harshly; rather face them with pleasantness. This may just be a good opportunity for you to model effective behaviour or to discipline your child, if the situation demands. All in all, in most cases, it is best to follow a zen approach to chaotic situations and enjoy the bliss there on. Breathe easy. Let go. Keep calm and carry on.
8. Be alert always
You don't just have some luggage and a plan to execute, but also have to take care of the little bundles of energy with a mind of their own. Parents have to be aware of the little ones and their safety at all times. Toddlers have a tendency to wander off and this can be a nightmare, if you are in a new, unknown place. It is important that you keep an eye on your little devils at all times, while they keep you on your toes!
9. Enjoy regardless
The idea of holidaying with your family is to spend quality time with them and come back refreshed, with lasting memories. Plan the tricky details beforehand so that during the holiday you are ‘in the moment’ and are able to give your child the attention that is required. Then you will definitely have a win-win situation.
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