The holiday season is here and many of us will be traveling to spend Christmas and New Year’s Day with friends and family. Whether we travel by plane or car we all know that traveling with young children has always been a challenge. There are several things we can do to make our stay easier and a fun experience for everyone involved, including the hosts if you are staying with someone while away from home. First and foremost, whether you stay with family or friends, giving extra detail to planning your stay goes a long way. If your children are used to having a routine at home for meals, snacks and napping, it is crucial that the same routine is followed as possible while you are away for home. Young children have their own little biological clocks with the alarms going off when they are hungry or tired, and while mom and dad are having a great time visiting it is easy to forget that our kids should have had their meal a while back or that we are way passed our nap time until we have a cranky toddler on our hands and everyone is then rushing to put out the fire.
Plan sleeping arrangements before leaving home. If you are staying with someone, will they have an extra room for you? Many little ones will need a quiet room to be able to take a nap during the day undisturbed.
If you are flying, check and see if your host has a portable crib/ pack and play that you could use or if maybe you could rent one. If you travel to see your host often, it would make sense to maybe purchase a pack and play and leaving it there for future use. If you are traveling by car and have room, take it with you. If you are sharing beds and have a portable guard rail, bring it along.
Bring a monitor with you if you have a portable one. It will give you a peace of mind and allow you more freedom to visit with your host while your little one is napping.
Discuss with your host every evening if possible about what the plans are for the next day. This will allow you to plan the next day meal, snack and nap times accordingly. For example If your little one naps from 12 to 2 then you would want to know if your host has an activity planned for 1:30. Then you could either agree on a different time or maybe see if you could put the little one to nap earlier than usual time.
If your kids are picky eaters make sure you have their favorite foods/fruits and juices available at the house you are visiting. For infants who are 6 months and older and if you are not practicing Baby Lead Weaning and you do not feed your children with store bought baby foods, make sure a suitable blender is available at the house. Bring some of their favorite snacks from home as you don’t know how soon you will be able to go shopping after you reach your destination.
Don’t forget the eating utensils. If you are driving and you have a portable high chair bring it along. I cannot stress how many times we’ve stopped to eat with our little one and there were no high chairs available.
Don’t be shy about communicating the needs of your children to your hosts and other visitors. You are the parent and you know the needs of your children the best.