Keeping the Toddlers Occupied
Once your child reaches toddlerhood, you may decide it is the perfect time to plan your next family trip. Toddlers usually sleep through the night, do not need a bottle or breastfed as frequently, can participate in more activities and are becoming increasingly independent. Toddlers are also incredibly curious and constantly on the go, which may leave you questioning how to manage a long trip. The idea of traveling with your toddler may start to seem overwhelming; however, there are a few tips that can make the hours in the car or plane more enjoyable.
Trips in the Car
Trips in the car are usually easier to manage than those in a plane. You won’t have to worry about disturbing other passengers, and you have the opportunity to stop for a break if your child is becoming restless. If you are fortunate enough to have a child who likes to nap in the car, your little one may sleep through most of the ride depending upon how long you will be in the car. To help keep your child from having a tantrum on a car trip, make sure to pack age-appropriate toys and games, including:
- Felt boards
- Magnetic drawing boards
- Crayons and paper
- Favorite stuffed animals or blankets
Avoid taking a trip during transitional periods of the child’s life, such as moving to a new bed or potty training. A long trip may cause setbacks in these situations. If your toddler is in the process of potty training, consider bringing along a small travel-sized potty chair. Place plastic grocery bags inside the chair for easy clean-up. If your child starts becoming restless in the car, consider stopping to let him or her run around for a few minutes. Ask your children questions about what they see outside the window. Keep children interested in their surroundings by telling them to look for certain items, such as something green or an animal. Pack a cooler of snacks and drinks for your child, such as crackers, cereal and bottles of water.
Trip by Plane
Encourage your children to tell you when they have to use to the bathroom and take them to the restroom frequently during the trip. Keep a small bag stocked with diapers, wipes and a change of clothes with you. Check with your local air carrier to see what items are allowed on board. Pack small toys and stuffed animals that you are allowed to bring in your carry-on bag. Consider buying a few new toys or bring toys that your child has not played with recently to increase his or her interest over the item.
Tips for Traveling
Even if you don’t let your child watch TV on a regular basis, consider bringing along a DVD player, so your child can watch favorite movies and TV shows. Bring an iPod, MP3 player or CDs that feature child-friendly music, such as singalongs and nursery rhymes. Choose a few of your toddler’s favorite books or purchase new ones just for the trip. With careful planning, both you and your toddler can have a fun travel experience.