Addie’s first flight was when she was 10 months old, from that first flight until today she has been on over 40 flights, one of them solo. When it comes to traveling with a kid? I kind of consider myself an expert. With the holidays coming up there are going to be many traveling children and many parents who have to deal with children who have been thrown off their normal routine. Babble has a great article with 12 tips on keeping littler kids on a schedule, but as kids get bigger the issues with keeping them on schedule get bigger as well.
Setting up their sleep space. With little kids it can be easy to confine them to a crib or portable bed, however bigger kids generally share a bed with a parent, end up on a couch, or worse, the floor. While kids are resilient little suckers, no one likes sleeping on the floor for a week straight. Make sure your kid is comfortable and has as many comforts from home as possible. For Addie this means a small blanket and her woobie (lovey.) If your kid seems overly cranky in the morning? It may be time to re-evaluate their sleep space while traveling.
Snacks and meals. I am 29 years old and I have still not outgrown the need for regular and fulfilling nourishment. When I get hungry the world becomes a darker place. Same with kids. If you’re considering a road trip you’d better be sure you have a small cooler and basket full of healthy snacks your kids will actually eat. It’s also just as important to keep them properly hydrated. Be wary of kids eating when they’re bored, but be conscious that your kid is getting enough of the good stuff.
Time zone changes. Bigger kids seem to adjust to time zone changes better. Depending on what you’ll be doing while traveling, allowing your bigger kids to adjust to the time change with you can be less of a strain on them (and you.) Keep things quiet before bed and if you’re stuck with an early riser? Keep them quietly occupied and sometimes…SOMETIMES…they’ll fall back asleep after a snack and snuggle. If your kid shouldn’t be awake? Whatever is going on should be boring.
Even big kids can’t do it all. Allowing a day to get adjusted and a day to decompress can make all the difference during your trip and when you get home. Nothing is worse than needing a vacation from your vacation. Keeping schedules open and allowing for plenty of down time will keep kids’ brains from buzzing from overstimulation and your voice from getting shouty and grumpy. Even you can’t party hard for a week straight without feeling the effects, neither can your kid.
The one I have the hardest time with is not getting short with a grumpy over-tired child. Show me a kid that can say “Mom, I totally need a nap.” and I’ll buy them a pony. Even if you know they need a nap the chances of them succumbing to one is rare. Addie is always worried she is going to miss something. So if we’re somewhere where there’s nothing to miss (like a boring hotel room?) and I’m in the nap trenches with her, she’ll be much more convinced that nothing is going on without her.
How do you keep your bigger ones on a schedule during times of travel?