Everything is going perfect. You have your luggage checked and loaded. You are comfortably seated on your designated seat. Your little ones are tucked under your wings and peaceful. Then, suddenly, you hear a cry. You know this frustrated cry. You know the source and you know the impending tantrum.
And you know you are doomed.
All eyes are set upon you. Shaming you for being a bad parent. For letting your kid cry on the plane.
The moment these glares start burning you alive, you gasp and rise with a shudder.
Thank goodness it was just a dream.
But this is a recurring dream you have when it comes to traveling. Summer vacations just worsen your travel phobia.
It’s not only social media, but your past experience of traveling with kids has made you conscious towards such events.
And you have tried every trick under the sky to avoid such troublesome scenes.
One thing which you don’t know is that you don’t need all the details you find on the internet. All you need is a mindset filled with patience and acceptance (from you, not from fellow passengers) and combined with a few easy to carry tools.
There are few to-do’s which will make your journey free of stress (or with a little less stress).
If you have to incorporate only one take away from this blog in your travel routine, acceptance should be that take away.
There is no better way to navigate any journey, including that of life, but to accept little headaches we endure during navigation.
There is no magic spell that will make your day-long, or week-long, expeditions as a mom of toddlers tantrum-free. You have to endure some hiccups even if they are usual pre-bedtime fussiness.
I know it is better to deal with a tantrum when you are away from the public, in your hotel room or car. Yet, you have to accept that if maintaining composure is difficult for you in public, it is even more difficult for the little naïve lads.
So, accept their entirely human nature. And let it go.
And preparation doesn’t include packing that train set to carry across continents.
Traveling with toddlers also implies that you have to carry a lot of luggage that must be managed and minimized. So, only opt for those accessories and clotheswhich are light, easy to carry, and can have a profound impact on your journey and children’s mood (why not your mood, I wonder!). Don’t forget to carry sweaters and hoodies too as without them a travelling is incomplete.
While sweaters, boots and jumpers take a humble space in that travel suitcase, do not forget to keep the baby sling carrier (when travelling with babies and toddlers). Otherwise that Eiffel tower or Pisa visit will be tiring, thanks to the “I had to carry the baby all along” mishap.
Talk to them. Engage with them and present travel as a fun idea or picnic. This will captivate their interest and they may show fewer signs of stress. But keep note that this prep-talk only minimizes the level of stress they will express while reducing the associated stress to a limited level. Traveling is bound to cause stress, positive or negative, and you being the parent will be the one dealing with resulting expressions.
Plan the pre-travel meals. You may want to pack nutrients in your last meal at home before the journey especially if you are planning long trips. Pack snacks. But don’t over-pack, you can always find the best deals in the plane or on the road.
Plan some activities for the journey. Then, plan some more. Keep them simple. Blocks can keep kids distracted for long duration so do books and screen. Coloring books also make helpful traveling companions. Or get some unique ideas from this post.
Keep hygiene your priority. Traveling is the worst time for your child, or any other fellow traveler, to get sick. Pack a healthy dose of hygiene products, portable diaper changing clutch (with a stock full of diapers off course) , change of clothes, and plastic bags for dirty clothes. Consider investing in a healthcare accessory kitwhich is a handy and practical option to hold everything from nail clipper to electric thermometer. Useful and practical this one’s is a must have when travelling with babies and toddlers.
This is a must-do if you are traveling in a group (did someone say plane?)
Build rapport among fellow passenger and present yourself as a fellow passenger who is as wary of toddler tantrums as any other passenger on board.
Expression of vulnerability may not eliminate chances of rude stares but it will definitely help in its reduction.
Your toddler is a human who has emotions, interests, and needs.
This fact cannot distract you from another equally important fact: you are as human as they are (a bit more humane though I expect).
So, establish in advance of the journey how you are going to relieve yourself from hectic duties of tending to naughty angels.
Share caring duties with your partner or older siblings. Don’t forget to equip them with the right tools (empathy is a good example of such tools).
Also, include traveling breaks during the journey if you can. This will help you and the whole family to de-stress and freshen up for new adventures.
So, how do you manage trips with toddlers? Do you brace yourself often to go on vacations often? Or you have given up the quest until they have grown and flown?
If you have maintained your calm even after witnessing melt-downs in the middle of the road, which factors help you come out of your comfort zone?
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