On Becoming Toddlerwise has some ideas for traveling with a toddler. These are found on pages 162-165. Here is a brief summary.
- Prepare for sleeping in other places: a few weeks before traveling, have your child sleep in the playpen for a nap or night sleep in various parts of the house.
- Use towels around playpen: using towels or blankets around the playpen block the toddler's view of where she is in a strange place. Do not do this if your child just pulls the towels or blankets into the playpen.
- Time zone change is another issue. Split bedtime by half when you arrive (so if it is 10 your time and 7 real time, go to bed at 8:30 night one), then continue to shift each day.
- Limit sweet drinks and snacks. Sleep is already going to be disrupted. If you add lots of sugar to the event, sleep and behavior will suffer.
- Maintain sleep as best you can. You can't always get naps in while on vacation. If you miss a nap one day, try to have an earlier bedtime that night.
- Get babysitters. If you are visiting people you know well, they might know of some babysitters who would be good to come stay at the house while you go out after bedtime. This will help maintain sleep for your child.
- Eat real food. If you can, try to eat food you make rather than just eating out. Food does affect behavior. Even just making a peanut butter and jelly for lunch can be better than going through the drive through again.
- Take a bed if possible. Take your playpen (or peapod) along if you can.
- If driving, plan activities. Long car rides can be hard on kids, so plan out activities to make the trip MUCH smoother.
- If driving, stop for potty brakes. Let your child burn some energy. When we drive long distances, I have races with my kids when we stop. Think about being strapped in a five-point harness and unable to shift your weight around for several hours straight--it wouldn't be comfortable! So give your kids breaks as often as practical.
- If flying, you might want to pre-board. Just like driving, take activities for the flight. Before getting on the plane, let your child work his energy out. Don't keep him strapped in a stroller or carseat while waiting to board.
- Take favorite toys and comfort items. Whether flying or driving, take along favorites.
- Take a stroller. If you will be doing any sort of site seeing or walking around, a stroller is a great idea. I have many times thought Kaitlyn could just walk only to be carrying her a short time in.
- Consider the sun. The sun zaps energy, so if you are in the sun a lot, try to have some shade breaks and keep your child well-hydrated.
Tomorrow, I will share my own traveling ideas. Feel free to share your own either today or tomorrow!
See also these posts:
traveling blog label
toddlerwise blog label
toddlers blog label