Tips and Tricks: Travel with Tots {BFBN}

Today is Babywise Friendly Blog Network’s Tried and True Tips and Tricks Thursday. Visit our Pinterest page where we’ll be pinning more holiday ideas!

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The holidays are nearly here and you may have a trip planned. While travel with small children is never “easy” it is something I have done with both of my children from birth. Our first trip with Little Bug was when she was less than two months old.

Over the past four years I’ve noticed that certain ages and stages are harder to travel with than others. For instance, this past summer, traveling with a 4 year old and 2 year old was a piece of cake compared to previous summers of a 2 year old and newborn or a 3 year old and 1 year old.

At any rate, here are 3 tips for trips with tots. Some of these I wish I had practiced when my girls were real little. There are probably a few trips that I don’t really remember much about because I was too concerned about how my girls were fairing during the trip.

1. Realize your tot is going to get off schedule and relax about it.

This is one that I didn’t realize until Sweet Pea came along. I remember feeling so stressed about Little Bug’s sleep while on a trip because she notoriously woke early in the mornings and from naps while on a trip. Every single trip. Every single day. I can remember trying to “figure out” what was going on when really, what was going on was she was in a new environment and was just waking early because of it. No big deal. I didn’t believe it was “no big deal” at the time.

Finally, I realized this was just the way trip sleep was going to go. And it was okay. Going on a trip is not “normal every day life” and small children realize this. Their schedules get off. They don’t sleep as long or as well. It’s just par for the course of travel.

2. The beauty of a schedule is that when life does return back to normal, tots bounce right back into their normal schedules.

All the stressing and we would get home and within a few days to a week, Little Bug’s sleep was always back on track. There was never a trip that threw her completely off forever. She always went back to the schedule once we returned home.

This truly is the beauty of scheduling. I finally realized the schedule was there to serve us and not the other way around. We could venture off it slightly while on a trip and once home things would get back on track.

3. Sticking to the schedule as close as possible while on a trip is wise.

All that to say, while on a trip I do not throw our schedules out the window. We still try to plan our activities around naptimes. While this is an inconvenience for sure, it was always WAY worse to have to deal with overtired babies or toddlers.

I remember my first trip to my Grandpa’s house for Thanksgiving when Little Bug was just 6 months old. The house was full of family members who were anxious to see our baby girl, but when naptime came, it was naptime and Little Bug was put to bed. Thankfully my family has always been very supportive of our choice to schedule our babies. They have seen the positive results and were always astounded that my babies rarely cried at all.

Planning around the baby’s schedule isn’t always possible if other family members are involved too. I remember this same trip we met some family members for dinner. We were out past Little Bug’s bedtime and by the end of the evening she was getting cranky and to us, she was very fussy because normally she was all smiles. But, it was worth it to be able to see family we only get to see maybe once or twice a year.

I’m sure some people do go on a trip and leave their child’s schedule at home, but that is a recipe for disaster if you ask me! Trips just require a little more flexibility to the schedule than normal, but total abandonment of your tot’s schedule while on a trip is just not wise, if it can be helped.

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There was a season where I thought travel just wasn’t worth it, but had I taken these three tips to heart I don’t think I would have felt that way at all. I still traveled during that season; I just dreaded it!

The good news is once a baby hits two, they really are easier to travel with. This summer I traveled with my girls for nearly two weeks straight and we had a ball. Their sleep was a little off, but the older they get the better I’ve noticed they can sleep on trips.

And, as always, they both bounce right back to normal within a few days of being home.

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