Traveling with family is a lot of fun but things can quickly go sideways if you have a cranky baby along. As new parents, it is but natural that your children are the center of your world and everything you do, is done keeping their happiness, comfort and safety in mind, so it is but natural that you get a bit unnerved at the thought of taking your child traveling for the first time.
It’s good to know that babies and children are quite resilient and enjoy new experiences. However, too many changes at one go may prove to be overwhelming especially if the children’s and baby’s sleep schedule and routine is affected and they don’t get enough rest. Babies and young children need about 14-17 hours of sleep including daytime naps, so this needs to be considered when planning your trip to keep the kids happy and in a good mood.
So, if your baby is old enough to travel, try keeping these few tips in mind to ensure a slightly more comfortable and happy journey-
- Invest in a good baby car seat- especially for long journeys, it’s not practical to keep carrying your baby in your arms. You’ll only end up tiring yourself, getting cramps, maybe even straining your muscles if your baby is older or on the heavier side. Having a baby car seat will not only keep your baby safe and secure, it keeps your hands free to attend to their needs easily, play and entertain them and will ensure that your baby’s sleep and travel is comfortable.
- Use the car window shades to reduce the sunlight and darken the car a bit so that when babies and kids sleep and travel, they are not distracted by the sights outside or the bright sunlight doesn’t affect them.
- When traveling, babies and children are aware that something has changed, so try and keep them feeling secure by following the same familiar naptime and bedtime routines that you do at home. Remember to carry along their blanket, favorite bedtime story book and toy.
- When on holiday, plan most of your activities during the day after your little one has had a good night’s rest, towards evening and night stay closer to your place of residence so that it will be easier for them to wind down and fall asleep at night.
- Planning your activities around your baby’s sleep schedule will ensure that they are well rested, less cranky and enjoying themselves as much as you.
- Use a baby pram or stroller with you, the ones with an adjustable backrest is recommended so that it can reclined, so that your child can comfortably sleep while you move all around the place.
- When traveling, some activities are exciting and it may become difficult for your young one to wind down and fall asleep, carry along soothing sounds and familiar calming songs on your device to help your baby relax, unwind and fall asleep.
- An unfamiliar bed or mattress may prevent your child from falling asleep easily so carry along their blanket and sleep buddy, the smell of which is sure to be comforting and will help them sleep.
- Sticking exactly to your baby’s nap schedule is an unrealistic expectation when traveling, but try and get at least one good nap in the morning so you begin the day on a good note.
- Since it is difficult to maintain your kid’s sleep schedule when traveling, at least try to keep other routines the same- continue to give them a bath or read a story before bedtime, so your child takes the familiar cues and prepares themselves to go to sleep.
Try not to fret too much if things don’t go as planned, it very rarely does. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes, review what went wrong and what changes or other preparations can be made for future travels. Finally, do keep in mind that each child is different as is each family, what works for one may not work for the other, and that’s okay. Don’t be too hard on yourself as long as your baby and family are happy, unharmed and in one piece, you’re on the right track. The rest you’ll figure out with trial and error, and practice, soon you too will get it right. Wishing you safe and happy travels!!
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