Everyone gets excited when it is time to go away on a holiday. The same is true for toddlers. Although they may not quite grasp the concept of holidays as yet, they can feel the excitement brew in the air as their parents ready themselves for a trip away. They can also sense the tension that parents carry as they worry how to manage the little people in their lives as routines inevitably change and familiarity gives way to adventure.
The first step in ensuring a smooth getaway is to communicate clearly with your toddler about the upcoming holiday. Make sure you don’t “jump” it on them, but rather sit and discuss the plans, where you will be going, who will be coming with you, what to expect in terms of travel time, and the behaviour you are expecting from them on the trip. Toddlers thrive in predictable, manageable environments so making the trip away as predictable as possible will ensure smooth sailing for everyone.
As difficult as it may seem, keeping to your ordinary routine as much as possible will also help manage toddler behaviour. This means trying not to skip on nap time. Toddlers need their sleep – everyone knows what a terror a tired 2 year old can be! So for everyone’s sanity, try to enforce nap times. In the same way, try to keep to your normal schedule for eating. Hungry children can also become grumpy and difficult. Make sure you have some healthy snacks packed if you won’t be able to prepare meals as you travel. If you know you will be eating out later than usual, keep those snacks handy and ensure your toddler is fed .
Lastly, try to take it all in your stride. Expect that your little one will act out at some point. The holiday is a new adventure for him and sometimes this can become quite overwhelming. Make sure you set your boundaries firmly, but gently and keep in mind what a big deal this is to him as well. Keeping yourself calm and patient will also ensure that you enjoy the holiday more.