How to Stay Sane While Vacationing With Small Children
Those of us who have traveled with babies, toddlers or vivacious pre-school age children know the “special” joys that come with towing children through airports, on road trips, or vacation excursions.
Making memories with our little ones is so worth it, even if vacations can be more challenging! To help take some of the stress out of traveling and vacationing with small children, I put together some tips to aid you in maintaining sanity during your family vacation.
Planning tips for before you leave:
- Talk with your children about any anxieties or questions they may have about the travel and trip.
- Show excitement when planning and preparing for the trip, let your child participate.
- If traveling by air, look for direct flights.
- Avoid peak travel days if possible.
- Digitize your travel plans – store every reservation number, confirmation number, address and phone number you might need in your smartphone. Tripit is a great app for consolidating these.
- Plan your trip in advance. Look into local attractions, ones that cost money and ones that do not cost a thing. Look at consumer reviews, especially what parents have to say about the establishment. Is it kid-friendly?
- Renting a condo is easier with children because you have a washer and dryer to wash AND DRY wet swimsuits, separate rooms for naps and early bedtimes, kitchen for bottles, baby foods, snacks, etc.
Packing tips for before you leave:
- Let your child create travel journals to draw pictures, write notes or however your child wishes to express the day’s adventure.
- Take a sturdy, kid-indestructible camera so children can join in capturing trip photos. Different brands like Fisher-Price and V-Tech have cameras for little tikes. Another option is a disposable camera that can be theirs for the trip. If your child has an iPad or other tablet, he or she can use that for fun video and photos on the trip.
- Pack a stroller – now you have a makeshift extra restaurant seat, nap venue, baggage carrier, and a place to spell tired little legs during long excursions through amusement parks or zoos.
- Put together a first-aid kit of on-the-road items while also keeping in mind your destination (household vinegar is excellent for jellyfish stings).
- Rainbow Loom boxes or a tackle box works great for a snack container. Check out this Rainbow Loom snack container hack from Your Modern Family blog .
- For beach vacations – bring a large beach bag for sunscreen, detangler, swim diapers, dry clothing, towels, beach toys, and bring an insulated cooler for snacks, baby food and sippy cups, Capri Suns, sodas and waters.
- Pack your own comfort items to help destress you as a parent. This vacation is for you to enjoy also! (A special coffee, wine, etc.)
- Take plates from home (kid friendly plastic plates along with kid friendly utensils). This way you can relax knowing they will not break the plates of the resort you are staying at!
Tips for while you are on vacation:
- Plan activities around your child’s daily routine. Don’t expect them to be happy if you are pushing them too hard. Midday breaks can save A LOT of stress!
- Enjoy it. The time you have with your children is incredibly short, so slow down, look down and really concentrate on “seeing” your children.
- Deal with the vacation schedule day to day, not staying rigid to planned agendas.
- Anticipate hunger and blood sugar crashes, finding playground or outdoors fun or indoors fun to let your kids burn off energy, anticipating in advance when naptime meltdowns are going to erupt.
A mom blogger summed up helpful advice to parents seeking to maintain some degree of sanity on vacation: “There might be a moment or two where you think to yourself, ‘Oh my God, I could use a vacation.’ And then you’ll die a little inside when you realize that you are, in fact, on vacation.” – mom.me
So what’s the bottom line? Just do your best to plan and prepare, and then relax and ride the ups and downs making memories all along the way.