12 Aug 2019
The secret to a successful holiday with a toddler? Planning and catering the trip around the youngest member of your travelling party. It may seem unfair because they may be too young to even fully appreciate the trip, but keeping them happy will keep the rest of you happy.
If your toddler is older than two years old, encourage them to pack their own backpack with their favourite things – within reason, of course. Suggest things like their favourite toys, books, and colouring books with crayons.
Parents with young children are sometimes kindly offered to pre-board the aeroplane. While it may help you beat the queue, it’s far better to stay in an area near the gate where kids can play and move around for as long as possible. Toddlers are easily frustrated even by the idea of having to sit still for longer than they have to.
Pack your own snacks for your toddler. Domestic flights may not provide food or snacks and, knowing toddlers, they are fussy about what they eat anyway. Stay away from sugary snacks and drinks. The last thing you want is a toddler that is full of energy with no way to use it.
Windows seats may keep grown-ups entertained for a long while, but it will only keep a toddler interested for a couple minutes. When travelling with a toddler, you want to aim for an aisle seat as they will likely have you walking up and down, exploring the plane with them.
If you are driving to your holiday destination, make frequent short stops where and when you are able to. Try to cover some distance if your little one takes a nap. Don’t speed! You don’t want to get speeding fines or be a danger on the road. It is also very important to remember to strap your little ones in and use a car seat – this could save their life in the event of an accident.
Driving is when that backpack they packed will come in handy. Encourage them to play with their toys or colour a picture to keep them busy.
What to do
Toddlers between two and five can only really appreciate one or major activities per day, so spread out your activities over the duration of your holiday, making plenty of time to rest and relax in between.
Activities where your toddler is able to do and touch things are usually the most successful activities. Of course, this will depend on where your holiday destination is but keep an eye out for animal attractions, children’s museums and places that host outdoor activities.
A change of scenery doesn’t necessarily mean that you should change your toddler’s routine. In fact, it will make it harder to get back into when you return if you stray away from it. Meals, naps bath times and bedtimes could and should be like at home.
You don’t have to wait until your child is older to enjoy a holiday away. It’s still possible and can still be very enjoyable if you plan ahead.