Notes on Parenting

Insights for parenting babies, toddlers, teens, and young adults.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Traveling with your Baby or Toddler

Spring is here, and many of you will be traveling for the summer or maybe even moving to a new place. I know that I will be moving my family from Utah to Pennsylvania, and map quest shows that that is a 1 day and 10 hour trip. That is a little frightening, since I know that I am going to have a little camper along for the ride!! Since this is something on my mind, I thought I'd try to help any of you that might be facing the same dilemma as me.

(1) Be Flexible - This is the most important point. You have to realize that this most likely is not going to be easy. Your infant or toddler (depending on his age, temperament, mobility, etc.) will inevitably get bored with staring at the back of a seat or playing with the 3 toys that you placed in his car seat. You have to be willing to change your plans along the way, within reason.

(2) Make Frequent Rest (Play) Stops - Your baby will want to play and get out of her car seat. I mean, wouldn't you? To help yourself out now, definitely plan your trip in advance--the distances you will travel, where you could possibly stop along the way, where to eat, etc.

(3) Take Snacks and Drinks - We all get hungry and thirsty on long trips, and babies and toddlers usually don't have as much patience as their parents (e.g. to be able to wait another hour until you reach where you were going to stop at a restaurant). Letting them have snacks and drinks at certain intervals will make all of you a little happier, I promise. Don't forget to have wipes or something for clean-up!

(4) Stay at child-friendly hotels - If you are going to have to stay overnight on your trip, call ahead to hotels and find ones that are child-friendly. Some (hopefully many) let your baby or toddler stay in your room for free and also provide a free breakfast even for your "free" child.

(5) Use your intuition - Have you taken shorter trips before? How did your infant or toddler respond? Most likely, they will respond the same way, so try to plan accordingly.

(6) Make the comfort of your baby your top priority - What is the weather going to be like? You might be comfortable in shorts, but would you baby get too cold? Too hot? Sweaty in his car seat? Sun in the baby's eyes (possible sun burn)? Just be aware, and do your best to help your baby be comfortable.

(7) Be prepared - Bring plenty of diapers, wipes, toys, clothes, etc. Simply be prepared. You know how easy it is for things to go from absolute perfection and a smiley baby to a blowout or a little 'crankmeister'!

Do any of you have experience with traveling with your infants? 

I would love to hear your stories and suggestions! Let's help each other out with our comments!

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