Travelling long distances with toddlers can be a daunting task for parents whether it is for a day trip or a holiday. It can be demanding on both the child and the parent.
Confined spaces such as cars, trains or planes can be challenging as can busy places such as airports. Toddlers are generally desperate to move and explore and this is not possible in the usual ways on a trip. They can be very vocal about both their needs and their frustrations.
Many parents find it difficult to entertain their toddlers in different environments for longer periods of time and keep them calm and happy. However, there are many ways to make sure the experience is less stressful for all parties involved if you plan ahead.
You know your toddler very well. Use your knowledge of their likes and dislikes to help you plan for your journey.
Packing is Key
Pack a busy bag with a range of carefully selected toys, games and books for your toddler. The things you pack must be able to be used whilst travelling or waiting at airports, etc. They need to be portable, compact and make little mess. Small lap trays or travel trays can be a useful base for some activities in the car, as can fold down trays if you have them in your car, or on a train or plane.
You may want to change the items around for each trip to keep your child interested. Take the needs of your child into consideration when packing your bag, one child may be able to use playdough on a lap tray very well but another child may struggle and get it all over the floor.
Having all of your items in one handy and easy to grab bag is really useful. A child-friendly bag also makes it really appealing and can help your child’s independence if they can access the things they want when they want.
Toys may include their favourite soft toy for comfort, little figures for imaginative play, a buckle toy, magnetic mazes, fidget toys or even play dough.
Games and activities might include Junior Uno, Top Trumps, felt pictures or lacing cards.
Books could include a range of fiction and non-fiction, colouring, activity, wipe clean, scratch art, reusable sticker or magnetic books.
Some parents also find audiobooks, with child-friendly headphones very beneficial. Pre-loaded tablets with games, tv shows and films can also help to pass the time.
Packing your child’s favourite toys of the moment can help them feel comfortable in their new environment.
Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time
If you can, plan in regular stop offs to eat, stretch your legs and go to the toilet. You could either take a packed lunch or a picnic full of favourite goodies or eat at a restaurant or café as you pass by.
Wherever you stop try and find places with some space for your child to play and run around. Some motorway service stations have fantastic play areas for children.
You could be a little more flexible with food and drink on the journey. You might decide to go for your child’s safe foods to ensure they are eating and drinking enough. You don’t want any food battles or upset tummies when you are at the airport or on a plane.
In conclusion, we can say that a successful journey is a lot easier if you plan accordingly. It saves you time, money and frustration and ensures that you get the most out of the journey. You can arrive at your destination ready to start the trip and enjoy yourselves as a family!