Travel is an exciting word. It promises new experiences, a break from routine life and a chance to recharge and refresh oneself. Add a tiny human being to this and the equation completely changes. I get it, parenting is challenging. Moving out of your comfort and support zone and planning a trip with a baby can seem to be a daunting task. However, a well thought of itinerary and an intelligent planning go a long way in ensuring that the entire family has a lovely holiday.
We have two boys under four and we were keen to make the most of summer and do a weekend away with our boys. My husband and I discussed child friendly locations and co-parenting responsibilities at the onset. Fathers, who are in most cases not the primary caregiver, may not be prepared for the time and effort it takes to care for a child. Discuss this openly with your spouse and decide the duties that you both will share. It will help keep both of you on the same page. Once this is out of the way, get down to the planning.
Do your Research
There are several ways travelling with a child can be made comfortable. I spent many hours online researching for child friendly stay options. Recommendations from other parents surely help. Zero down on 2 or 3 that seem best and discuss this with your partner. Make a checklist of your requirements. Some of the things to look out for are –
Comfortable room / suite size
Child friendly menu
High chair at the restaurants
Swimming pool for babies
Activity / Indoor play room
Laundry / Pantry Facility
Pack in Advance
Clothes, diapers, toys, toiletries, snacks – the list is long. You do not want to be stuck in a new place and remember the pacifier the baby won’t sleep without is left on the bedside. Write down everything you may need and there will always be an item or two you remember to put in later.
Kids do tend to get restless while travelling and the erstwhile “Are we there yet” doesn’t seem to cease. Carry some entertainment for the road – busy bags, crayons, books and nursery rhyme CDs for older kids and rattle / sensory toys for younger ones.
Carry light snacks for the travel. I generally like to pack 5-6 mini snacks which can be offered at intervals.
Take it Easy
An action packed itinerary just won’t fly with a baby. Instead plan for one big activity or couple of the smaller ones each day. It keeps the pressure off the holiday and everyone is more relaxed. The last thing you want is a tired and cranky child when you too are exhausted.
This works best during travel as it is use and throw. Carry extra, change when soiled and use a diaper rash cream to keep the baby’s bum clean and irritation free. We use Teddyy diapers and their disposable changing mats which is a multipack product.
Carry Toys & Treats
Kids need to be occupied while indoors as well. I like to carry books and some new toys to keep their interest up. This also allows my husband and I to enjoy some ‘us’ time while the kids are busy. We pack in our tablet which is offered as a treat to the kids while we rest or prepare for the day ahead.
A holiday is for the entire family and sharing child care duties ensures that mom is not overworked. My husband and I like to take turns when possible looking after the kids. This gives us some time to enjoy activities like a massage or shopping which is not possible otherwise.
To sum up, planning well, packing in advance and taking it easy are to key mantras to an enjoyable family holiday. Try to stay as close to a baby’s routine, plan activities that are enjoyable for the entire family and share the load. This way you will have a happy, well-travelled child at hand.