Tis the season for traveling distances to see family and friends. With that comes many a challenge with active toddlers. Here are a few ideas on how to make that car ride or plane flight more enjoyable for you and your tot.
First, consider your child’s schedule in planning. For Bobby, naptime flights have been pretty great. He usually will fall asleep for some portion of the flight. So, we try to book our trips during times when he will be sleeping (in theory that is). I have even been known to put him in his pajamas so he gets the message that he will be going to sleep.
Second, prepare for the worst case scenario. There are times when naptime flights don’t do the trick. So, prepare yourself. Bring back-up toys and tricks to distract your tot. My list includes: playdough, matchbox cars, stickers, paper, washable markers, magnetic toys, books, trains, snacks, iphone or DVD player and headphones. You may have even more success if the toys are new to your tot. So, I usually plan a trip to Target or the Dollar Store before embarking on a long journey.
Third, prepare your tot for the upcoming adventure by telling them about it. If your tot is into airplanes, explain to them how they will be getting to ride on an airplane. There are amazing books out there to help. For example, Byron Barton explains the whole process from checking-in to buckling seatbelts in his book Airport.
Lastly, when things don’t go as planned – well, take a deep breath and let it go. After all, the journey to a particular destination is a short term obstacle to a long term benefit of being with whomever you seek to spend time with over the holiday.