How to make the most of toddler holidays abroad
Holidays with toddlers can seem a little daunting at first. We have all been on holiday and witnessed embarrassed parents struggling to placate a screaming toddler with that “Who thought that this would be a good idea?” look etched across their faces. These are the moments that stay with us long after the holiday has ended and introduce the fear factor when later it comes to planning holidays with our own toddlers. It’s a shame because if we had just noticed the happy toddlers with the relaxed parents we might be a little less anxious and might have remembered what they were doing that went down so well with their little ones.
Nobody knows your toddler better than you do but thefollowing thoughts and tips might help you to be a little less anxious and a little better prepared for your toddler holiday abroad. One word that you will read often through this post is ‘routine’. We know that holidays are about breaking from routine but keeping your toddler’s normal routine in mind can help you to make the most of your holiday with them.
Toddler holidays tips
Travelling – The experience of flying for example is likely to be new to your toddler. It’s exciting and will almost certainly over-stimulate their senses. Travel if you can when they are usually at their most alert and receptive or for long-haul flights try travelling when they are most likely to sleep. Try to keep to normal snack times with favourite snacks when they are awake; read them their favourite bedtime story and let them cuddle-up with their favourite soft toy to sleep.
Once you are at your holiday destination continue to keep your toddler’s routine in mind. Make sure that you switch to local time straight away don’t try to adjust for the time back at home. If your little one normally has a nap at two o’clock in the afternoon try to be somewhere where they can do that at the same time on holiday – maybe back at the holiday apartment or maybe at a quiet spot in the park after a family picnic. Trying to force them to stay awake all day when they don’t do so normally will only lead to tears.
Food and dining – Eating out on a holiday with toddlers doesn’t have to be tricky. Try not to be too fastidious about carefully balanced meals you will only be away for a few days and one or two extra treats a day will help to make their holiday special. Routine is important here too so try to eat your main meals at roughly the same intervals as you would at home. Eating out at night long after your child’s usual bedtime is a risky strategy as it will disrupt their night time routine. Try to mix it up a little by some days taking your main meal at lunchtime and sometimes on your apartment’s balcony once your toddler is tucked up in bed.
Families often find holiday apartments more convenient when it comes to keeping their toddlers meal requirements just right. You are not restricted in a rental apartment as you are in a hotel to limited menus so you can be sure to have to hand your toddler’s favourite cereal for breakfast sandwich fillings for picnics fruit and snacks.
Activities and days out – At home you would always avoid taking your toddler onto public transport at the peak of the rush-hour so do the same on holiday as well. Crowded buses and metro’s are far from pleasurable to travel on and rarely bring out the best in any of us they certainly won’t bring out the best in your toddler. Start days out a little after the rush hour has passed when all the family can travel in comfort. During hot weather avoid travelling when the sun is at its highest and aim to be in a shady park or at an air-conditioned attraction at the hottest times of day.
Try to balance the activities during days out so that you are at those requiring the most energy when your toddler is usually at their most active. You might start the day with some sightseeing followed by a picnic in the park. In the afternoons and early evenings try and keep to activities that have good interactivity for children or choose attractions with plenty of energy colour and music that will capture their imaginations even if they are beginning to flag a little.
Comfort and health – Keeping your toddler comfortable is important for happiness and health. Make the application of sunscreen a routine part of each day’s activities apply it before going to the beach (because they won’t stay still long enough once you’re there) and when leaving the beach a little talcum powder will help you brush off the sand sticking to their skin. Make sure that you have some insect repellent that is toddler friendly some upset tummy medicine and a children’s paracetamol suspension for mild temperatures.
Make sure your toddler’s clothes are loose fitting and choose only natural fibres like cotton and linen. This is as important at bedtime in hot destinations as it is during the day – your toddler may find it difficult sleeping in an unfamiliar room anyway and this can be compounded with being unable to regulate their temperature enough to get to sleep comfortably. Most important of all make sure that your toddler doesn’t become dehydrated. Make sure that they are given regular drinks of water (if they won’t drink plain water choose flavoured waters with very little sugar rather than heavily sugared carbonates and fruit juices) and remember that if you feel thirsty your toddler probably does too.
You do need to think a little differently when going on holiday with toddlers but it is worth the effort for the memories you will take home with you. We believe that the hints and tips in this article will go a long way to avoiding unnecessary tears and tantrums on holiday.