Family vacations are an important part of childhoods. Creating pictures that will be cherished for years, these summer activities usually hit a couple less pleasant “bumps in the road” too. From uncomfortable car trips to forgotten “stuffies” and at least one meltdown, travel gets even more complicated when taking a toddler with you. Here are some tips from the pros to keep the smiles going, and minimize the tears.
Find Toddler-Friendly Food
For most toddlers, even a full kid’s meal is too big. Young children are natural grazers who prefer to eat small amounts frequently. Often times your vacation resorts will be geared for older diners with larger portions, and infrequent or expensive meals. While you will likely still dine out a little, it’s easiest to provide your own toddler-friendly food.
Bring lots of snacks, or purchase groceries through a delivery service that will bring them to your hotel. Consider choosing studios with a kitchenette when you book a room so that you can stock a kitchen full of healthy treats like apple slices, string cheese, and yogurt. Rooms with a stove will let you prepare simple foods like rice or macaroni easily.
In addition to saving money by providing your own snacks, you’ll also avoid sugar crashes and junk food induced meltdowns.
Double the Love
Does your two-year-old have a favorite “lovey”? If the answer is yes, the loss of this item can cause utter toddler devastation. Whether a favorite blanket or stuffed animal, these comfort objects provide a sense of security that can come in handy on the road. Unfortunately, travel makes it difficult to keep track of things, and items can get lost.
If at all possible, find a “lovey” backup to bring with you, or a location to purchase one easily. The ability to provide a quick substitute may just save the day.
Cart the Car Seat Everywhere
While it’s obvious that you need a car seat for young children when driving, you should also consider bringing this for air travel. Much like your car, a plane is a vehicle moving at high speeds. Adults are required to wear seat belts for take off and landing, yet these larger safety belts don’t really restrain a child.
Airlines require a seat purchase for children age two and up, but that doesn’t mean these tickets fully provide for these smaller sized humans. The solution is to bring your car seat on the plane. In addition to the added safety, your car seat will restrain your child and keep them from getting into trouble. Many children also find car seat more comfortable, providing a familiar surrounding that can help children sleep through the flight.
For parents concerned about the trouble of lugging a car seat through the airport, there are some solutions that can help. Wheeled car seat carriers can roll your seat along similar to a suitcase. Another option is a car seat suitcase adapter, creating an instant stroller with your luggage. Some suggest combining this adapter with your umbrella stroller (stroller can gate check for free).
The last thing you want is your toddler getting sunburnt. Adult sunscreens can include additional chemicals that aren’t ideal for toddlers, and sprays can be difficult to apply near eyes and mouths. Choose from a top-rated sunscreen recommended for children. Use at least SPF 30 and find brands that protect against both UVA and UVB rays.
Despite our best efforts, sunscreen can wear off, especially when swimming or wiping sticky fingers. Consider adding UPF rated clothing to your suitcases, such as rash guards, hats, and shorts. There is sun protective clothing available not only for toddlers, but children and adults as well if you wish to protect the whole family.
Preparation can help you prepare for a safe and healthy summer vacation. Try these toddler family tips so you can concentrate and packing and plan that next tour. Good luck!