Traveling with kids can be stressful – especially during the holidays. Put these 10 tips to use and sit back and relax!
Holidays can be a stressful time, especially when your family lives out of town. To prevent that from putting an ugly shadow on the most wonderful time of the year, here are ten tips to ease your stress a bit.
1. Have a sense of humor. Sometimes the drive will take 4x as long as it was supposed to. Sometimes your kid will throw up in their car seat, some times you’ll stop every ten minutes to have a bathroom break. But you’re making memories!
2. Pack wisely. We don’t have a big SUV (we’re driving hubby’s 2000 Honda Accord to the death before biting the bullet and getting a SUV) so packing everything into our Mercury Milan is sometimes a challenge, especially if we’re going to be gone multiple days. Pick toys and baby gear that serve multiple functions and don’t take up too much space. During my visit to Fisher-Price, I was super impressed with the new Ultra-Lite Day & Night Play Yard. It is a inclined sleeper, changing station and play yard all in one, AND it only weighs 15 pounds. Another great thing about traveling with a play yard is that it gives you a safe place to put your baby if you need a moment to do something (you know, like using the bathroom or making sure grandma doesn’t burn your pies). Let’s face it, most homes without babies aren’t baby-proofed so a safe place for baby to play is very important.
3. Bring toys for the car. This should be a no-brainer. We don’t have a DVD player in our car and we limit the time our kids spend on electronics. (To be fair, our families live about three hours away – if we had a 10 hour drive I might be singing a different tune.) Pack lots of toys, games and books that don’t take up a lot of room, will keep the kids busy for awhile, AND don’t make too much noise. We usually go heavy on the books but a couple toys are great too. I also occasionally pick up a new toy or book and save it as ammo for when things are starting to go downhill. A new book to look at or a toy to play with could just be your saving grace. My kids love a Doodle Pro® Travel for the car (I actually bought it from the store on the Fisher-Price campus!).
4. Be flexible with dates. If you say Merry Christmas to your kids on December 20th because that’s when you celebrate with the in-laws, I guarantee they won’t know the difference or care. It’s all about the family time, not the particular date or time that you celebrate. Shoot, celebrate in July for all I care.
5. COFFEE. What’s that? I’m a broken record? I know.
6. If the roads are terrible because of snow or ice, reschedule. Yes, sometimes it hurts to not be at a family gathering, and yes, it might not be ideal to celebrate Christmas in mid-January. But your safety and the safety of your children is more important than anything else. Let your brain, not your emotions, be the judge of if the roads are safe or not.
7. SNACKS. Bring lots of them. Save them for when a meltdown is impending. But not too much water/milk/juice. Full sippy cups equal more potty breaks equal longer trip. Catch my drift?
8. Make sure to take lots of photos and video. The holidays are so much more fun with kids and you’ll want to remember these beautiful-crazy-sweet-fun-amazing-joyful moments as they get older.
9. Have a (slightly flexible) schedule. My kids, especially when they were younger, were on a fairly strict schedule. The bustle of the holiday season mixes it up a little, but whenever possible, I stuck to the schedule. Evvvvveryone is happier. At least in my family.
10. Make, and stand firm to, your own traditions. Before we had kids, I didn’t care so much where we were or what we did for Christmas. Now that we have kids, I’m pretty adamant (probably annoyingly so) about being home on Christmas morning. I treasure the leisurely morning where we open stockings, sip coffee and just spend time together (in our pajamas!) as our family of four. I love this time and look forward to those calm hours on Christmas morning. Well, semi-calm. I do have two toddlers.
Hope these tips make your traveling a bit easier! What tips do you have for traveling with kids?
**Disclosure: This post is part of my ongoing partnership with Fisher-Price as a FP Insider. I have been compensated for my time but all opinions are as always, my own. Thanks for supporting my blog by reading about brands I love.