Holiday travel can come with a lot of stress and anxiety which can sometimes take away from the excitement and enjoyment of the holidays. Luckily, traveling with kids does not have to be a horrible experience. The Mommy Wrap and Sharon Somekh, M.D. cover 10 Tips for Traveling During the Holidays, to help prepare you and your family for a memorable and easy holiday season.
Get your downloadable Holiday Travel Tips Guide
If you going into the holiday and travel expecting that everything is going to be perfect, you are more likely to be disappointed which will lead to frustration. Frustration can be taken out on those around us and that immediately sets a negative tone for the trip. If you can go in with a realistic view of what traveling with your infant or toddler will be like and prepare yourself for delays, then you will have a much smoother travel experience. Even if you aren’t traveling far, knowing what to expect will create the mood for a much better experience.
If you are traveling with young kids, be sure to have activities to keep them occupied. If you have a child (toddler) who is potty trained be sure to plan out some potty stops along the way to your destination. Knowing where there are places to stop and where there are not places to stop will help prevent accidents. If you are traveling by airplane or train, familiarize yourself with information like this so you can be prepared. These things are important in helping make an enjoyable trip. When traveling with little ones, you can also try to plan your travel around naptime and their sleep schedule. This can help significantly with the travel transitions.
Before you leave you will want to check with your lodging the resources they have available. This can be anything from having a crib for your infant, if they have breakfast available, what kid-friendly activities there are. This will help you be able to pack accordingly and save some stress on you. You won’t want to show up to your hotel to find that you needed to have packed your Pack n Play or that you needed to have packed morning snacks to hold your toddler over until the family was ready and packed up for breakfast. Be sure to check with family too about the resources they will have. If you are going to a house that does not have appropriate entertainment for your kids, you are going to want to make to sure to bring activities. This will set everyone up to be happy so the holidays are more enjoyable.
Your expectations can set the mood for the whole trip. By knowing that the trip may not goes as expected and that it will have speed bumps, you are setting yourself up to not be disappointed. Try to map out how you will handle if your baby or toddler has a hard time with travel. They can be fussy, clingy, and down right cranky when they are not in their normal setting and around big groups of people, especially when they aren’t familiar with them. By having a game plan in mind, you don’t need to stress and can even let the family know what to expect if that happens. If it ends up being easy it will be great, but babies and toddlers are unpredictable.
If you are going to be around big groups of people (especially those that your child may not know) try to show you child pictures of the people or even FaceTime them for a couple minutes to help familiarize your child with who they are going to be seeing. It will help your baby feel like they are around people that they already know. You can talk about the family with your kids too. This will help them to recognize names and even know them through the stories told.
Sometimes family can get offended by your children not acting the way they expect. For some, it has been a long time since they have had children and they may have forgotten that kids are going to act like kids. By having a conversation ahead of time, letting them know that you are coming to the holiday and you are really excited but it has been a while since we have seen them and it may take a little bit of time for your child to warm up and adjust. It doesn’t mean that your kids don’t love them. You don’t know what to expect but you want to make sure the family is on the same page as you if this were to happen. When kids travel and are out of their normal setting, kids can feel overwhelmed and tired.
Traveling with kids can be overwhelming for the parents too and our children can feel our anxiety and it affects their behavior. If you are feeling overwhelmed and anxious, your child is going to feel this before you ever arrive for the holiday. Do the best you can to stay calm and know it is not going to be perfect. Try deep breathing or even taking a hot bath, whatever it is that will help calm you down. This will help to allow for your baby to have a better overall demeanor for the family.
If you are able to travel in a way that lets the baby sleep while en route, it allows for your baby to be well rested when you arrive for the holiday. Think about the timing of your traveling and the schedule of your child’s sleep needs. You can do this whether you are in a car, train, or even airplane.
During travel and holidays, whatever decision you make when it comes to your kid's schedules is completely fine and your own. If you choose to adhere strictly to their sleep schedules or you don’t, there is no wrong or right way of going about it. Expect to have some bumps along the trip and just handle it in stride. There is no point in trying to stay to a strict agenda, because you are working with babies and toddlers who are extremely unpredictable.
Most of all, enjoy yourself! The holidays are a time for cheer and festivities. You get to celebrate with family (that may not live nearby). Your children will see you having fun and feel more at ease and even participate alongside you. Take advantage of this time to create new memories with loved ones.
You can watch our Exclusive Webinar on How to Holiday with Babies and Children with special guest, Pediatrician, Sharon Somekh, M.D.