Travelling with toddlers can be a daunting prospect no matter how many times you have done it before. Remembering to pack everything, coping with the flight, entertaining them, keeping them safe – it’s little wonder many parents look like they need a holiday when they get back home. Our exclusive tips gather the best advice on going away with your child, helping you to enjoy your holiday as much as they do.
- The entire process of getting on a plane or a long car journey can be boring – even to a toddler – so pack as many small activities as you can. Colouring books, pens, stickers, puzzles, drawing paper, story books, card games – anything to keep them occupied throughout the long waiting time and journey.
- If you’re travelling with your children, they will have their hands all over everything, so pack plenty of Wet Wipes and hand sanitiser – and keep them both in your hand luggage.
- If your child is toilet training, then take a few spare sets of clothes in case of accidents. You could also consider taking some pull-up nappies for when the seatbelt sign is turned on.
- No matter where you’re going, give yourself plenty of time. Travelling with toddlers takes twice as long as when you’re alone, so allow time for exploring, investigating, and toilet breaks.
- Keep a bag full of healthy snacks for them to munch on, such as fruit, breadsticks, crackers, carrot sticks, raisins and cucumber. For the flight, remember to give them something to drink or a lollipop to suck on, especially during take-off and landing, to help if the change in atmospheric pressure hurts their ears.
- Make sure your tablet or iPad has plenty of kiddie-friendly apps and/or downloaded films when travelling. Depending on where you’re going, you could be in for a long flight and there only so much colouring your child can do.
Safe in the sun
- It should go without saying that your toddler needs a very high SPF sun cream applied regularly – especially if they’re in and out of the pool or sea. Aside from the health risks, a sunburnt toddler is a very unhappy child.
- Hats are also vital – make sure they fit and are comfortable on. Your toddler will delight in taking it off as soon as you’ve put it on, so persist and make it clear they need to wear them whenever they are outside.
- Make sure your child drinks plenty of water throughout the day – and that goes for you, too.
- Kids’ Clubs are great if your accommodation has them, but don’t be surprised if your toddler doesn’t enjoy them. Being in a strange place can be unsettling enough, without being put with unfamiliar people for hours at a time, away from their family. Introduce them slowly and if they still don’t like it, don’t force them.
- Those same games and activities you had on the flight should stay in your beach bag for when you need to occupy your toddler with something simple. Simple card games and puzzle books can make the difference between a relaxing lunch and a frantic refuel.
- Don’t spend all your time by the pool if there’s a beach nearby. Your kids will love the new sights and sounds, and playing in the sand.
- When you’re travelling, keep a wristband on your child with your mobile number on it. No one wants to think about their child getting lost, but if they do, this is a good way for anyone finding them to get in touch with you.
- A well-stocked first-aid kit is vital not only for your toddler but for the whole family. Include plenty of plasters, antiseptic cream, antihistamine for bites and stings, a thermometer, and the all-important Calpol. Oh, and insect repellent.
- Above all, stay calm and remember it’s your holiday too. Try and take some time out for yourself and you’ll arrive back home refreshed rather than frazzled.