It’s that time of year where we look to head off on our family holiday but sometimes the idea of heading abroad with a toddler can make even the calmest of parents a bag of nerves. Here are some of my tried and tested tips and tricks that will make your time away with your little ones much more enjoyable.
What to expect
Toddlers love routine and taking them away can make them feel anxious, so do expect a slight change of character for the first few days and the odd tantrum. While travelling stick to your toddlers routine as much as possible, including nap times and the bedtime routine even if it’s not at their usual bedtime. When looking at destinations think about the entire time you will spend travelling and consider the time difference as this can have an effect on their sleep pattern.
Start the excitement just before you go by helping your toddler pack their own backpack with their favourite things such as their teddy and a book, I love the little characters of these LittleLife backpacks and they come with a rein to help travel safely. The first time flying with a toddler is very exciting for them, but try to choose a short flight for your first trip so it's less stressful for you all.
Be prepared to keep your toddler entertained during the flight. An iPad with their favourite show downloaded and some headphones is also a great idea to keep them entertained on board, the headphones will cancel out any strange noises during the flight. Pop some of their favourite snacks in your bag as drinking and chewing during take-off and landing can help prevent any ear pain. Packing some spare clothes in your hand luggage for your toddler just in case of any accidents will keep you prepared. The more prepared you are the more relaxed you can be.
Where to stay
There is so much choice out there and it’s important to choose a child friendly destination so that everyone in the family is happy. Check tripadvisor.com for reviews and ask other families you know for recommendations. Do your homework on the food and facilities available as this is so important.
Villa: I always loved a villa holiday with my kids as I could provide them with food that I knew they were happy with, fill the freezer with ice lollies so you miss out extra expense and they could still have inside naps which meant us parents could still relax by the pool knowing they are safe. Villas work well with bedtime routines as you can stick to their usual routine and then you can relax and enjoy your evening…. win-win for everyone! There are some great websites where you can find some fantastic family villas and when it comes to holidaying on a budget I’ve always found villa holidays more cost effective.
Hotel: If you’re heading to a hotel, I always recommend choosing a ground floor room. This means you won’t have as far to go when you’re popping toddler back if you want to keep them out of the sun at peak times or for their midday nap. Always choose a child friendly hotel and when you are reading online reviews pay particular attention to the food and pool as these are the parts that will have the biggest impact on your time there. I always looked for a separate child's pool too as some older kids jumping and splashing can be off putting to your little one and dangerous.
What to Pack
I always recommend being prepared and packing a medicine bag with everything you are likely to need that may be either difficult to buy or that you might need quickly. This includes;
- Camomile lotion
- Mosquito repellent and bite cream
- After sun
Always make sure you pack plenty of sun protection suits and hats always bring spares. Pack a night light if they usually have one at home and extra comfort blankets as the temperature can drop in the evening. I always recommend taking your potty along with you so you can keep toilet training consistent and the familiarity of their own potty will avoid any setbacks.
If your little one enjoys daytime naps in their buggy then a cool mat is always a great idea as well as a good shade to protect them from the sun as well as creating a comforting environment for evenings when you want to head out and about with your little one asleep in the buggy.
When it comes to fun around the pool bring your own inflatables from home, I always did this as they will be double the price abroad. Something that’s always worked a trick for me is taking along a pack of their favourite figurines (dinosaurs or My Little Pony were a hit with my kids), splitting up the pack and giving them one a day to reinforce good behaviour. Your little one will get excited about the treat it will keep them entertained both in and around the pool.
Let me know what works best for you, there is nothing like a family holiday for creating special memories.
Love Amanda x