Monday, April 24, 2017

Trips with Toddlers

When my daughter was a baby I avoided taking her out for long periods of time. When she was breastfeeding--it just felt like too much of a hassle to take her anywhere. I got real anxiety at the thought of taking her on a long car ride by myself. I would stress over what would happen if she cried, or was hungry. I avoided taking her anywhere overnight until she was 6 months old. AND that trip was so awful that she didn't go anywhere again until 14 months.

As P got older though, the more she craved adventure, and the better traveler she has become. I know that if I have another one--I will need to find that balance of being able to provide structure without making myself crazy. I do believe that a lot of my issues with travel with my daughter were self induced. I just wasn't flexible enough. I was too caught up in her schedule and nap times to have fun.

However, traveling with toddlers can make even the most confident parent fret a bit.  We are taking three vacations this summer, so here are a few tips that I have found to help while on trips with toddlers.

1. Understand going in that bed time will be later
When we go to Virginia every summer, we do a great job getting P to bed on time each night, but when we were at Disney--she was going to bed at all kinds of crazy hours. I used to try to fit our schedule around P's nap and bed times. It is just too much. You will not be able to accomplish what you need if you are tied to a 7:30 bed time. Let it go. I promise that they will go back to their normal bedtime when you return home. Kids are smart enough to understand that there is a difference when you are away from home.

2. Understand that nap time may not happen
At this stage in the game (P is three years old) we are really struggling with nap time anyway. For this reason, I am already mentally preparing myself for the fact that P might not take naps while we are on our vacations this summer. Children (especially toddlers) are creatures of habit, so one little difference could really throw them off. I know that P usually sleeps well at our place in Virginia, because the room is very dark and similar to the environment that she has at home. BUT our cruise for this summer is likely to be a whole different story. I'm not going to worry about it. I know that she will need to sleep later in the mornings to make up for it, and I will try like hell to make sure that that happens.

3. Bring as many comforts from home as possible
Since my daughter is such a product of a strict schedule and environment--I always try to bring as many comforts from home as possible when we travel. This includes all 35 of her stuffed animals (I'm not kidding). If we have room and it can be done, then I bring them. On the list of things that I normally bring on trips with us: her comforter, pillow, stuffed animals, sound machine, monitors, potty seat, and potty stool, and countless of her favorite toys. Obviously if you are going by plane, then it might be different. We will see how P does on the cruise without her potty seat. She will go on public toilets, but protests without it at home and on vacation at times. It should be interesting.

4. Figure out the bed situation
Up until last summer, P slept in her pack n play on vacation, but once we moved her to her toddler bed at home--we knew she was not going to take to that sleeping arrangement on vacation anymore. When we went to Disney last September, I actually bought a toddler cot that she could sleep on. It was adorable, and she slept on it at my parents maybe twice. When we got to our condo at Disney she was so excited to sleep in her own bed in her own room that she actually spent the whole week sleeping in the full sized bed in her room. She didn't want to even look at that cot. This has become a bit of an incentive for P on vacation. Since she sleeps on a smaller toddler bed at home--she looks forward to going on vacation to get to sleep in the "big girl bed." Hey--Whatever works.

5. Bring medicines and other items for emergencies
Now when I say emergencies I don't meal real ones. I mean scrapes, and sniffles. I try to bring any medicine that P has ever needed in her three years. I am a firm believer in Murphy's law (what can go wrong, will go wrong). I like to live in the know. Before A trip I pack the following: eczema lotion, glycerin suppositories (because kids get constipated on vacations), miralax, tylenol, ibuprofen, band aids, benadryl, ear drops, saline spray, boogie wipes, and rubbing alcohol. You just never know when something may be needed.

Preparation truly is key with my little one. I try to keep as much structure in the chaos as possible, and usually she does a great job.

Happy Monday!

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