If you want to raise well-rounded kids,Who grow to become global citizens,
You must explore the world with them!”
Most of us are fond of travelling but to think of travelling with a toddler will give jitters. But the fact is travelling with a toddler can be a very fun filled and fulfilling experience in itself if you plan the trip well… …Frankly,for me trips with my toddler on tow has been my best travel experiences…..Here are a few ideas and tricks I used while travelling with my child.
In this blog I am talking about all kinds of travelling, be it vacation, visiting relatives or day trips…….
I am an avid traveller, so naturally I wanted my child to be one too. Being an army wife I had to travel alone with my tiny tot quite a lot of times. I have travelled with my son in chaotic trains, bear delayed flights, take bumpy car rides to various destinations in mountains, beaches and abroad. From all my travelling experiences so far, if I am asked to list three main areas to focus before stepping outside the home with the mighty one, I will say- SAFETY, FOOD, and ENTERTAINMENT
i) Safe from getting lost
Airports and Railway stations are crowded places. Make sure you don’t leave your child’s hand even for a nano-second and for that practically at least one of your hand should always be free… Travelling light is the only way out. Pack only essential stuff as all kinds of children’s product are available everywhere .(A printable checklist which will come handy for packing your luggage is given at the end) Use four wheel trolleys for packing your luggage. Trolleys help you to navigate through crowded spaces with ease. Use sling bags or backpacks instead of tote and purse.
Missing a child is the worst fear. Make sure your child carries your phone number and address. I had made a wrist band for my kid with all the details on it. The added benefit was that gradually he learnt my phone number by heart.
ii) Safe from diseases
- Ensuring a Hygienic environment
Unlike adults children are not very immune to diseases. This calls for carrying a variety of hygiene products. Even long before the Covid era I used to carry a sanitizer and wet & dry tissues. Dont forget to carry a newspaper. It comes very handy many a times.
Wipe the berth in trains before laying out the linens. Carry a light weight bed sheet from home itself.
- Carrying adequate first aid
My son was asthmatic, so carrying adequate first aid was a necessity for me. Other than spacer and pump my first aid kit included all the basic paediatric medicines- for fever, stomach ache, cuts or bruises etc.
- Travel habits
During car rides, Never allow your child to sit on your lap(which I unfortunately see often in India) .I used to ensure that my child always sits at the back with seat belt on. That’s the safest thing to do. Also,I always used to keep an ice bag at the back seat.
Keep a pillow and comforter at the back so that the child takes a good nap and can wake up fresh at the destination.
Dressing properly( be it for yourself or for your child) ensures safety. I always wore a soft thick cotton stole during my travels. It always used to come handy to swaddle my child and keep him warm.
Dress the child appropriately as per season. Overdressing or under dressing can make your child uncomfortable or even sick.
This Generation Alpha cannot live without some form of entertainment…….just staring outside the window of a car or train like us Gen X is not their cuppa…… ACCEPT IT! In this case it is important to feed maximum healthy stuff to their brains and minimise the Junk of gadgets.
For that, during our car ride we developed his music sense by singing songs. The best time pass in car rides are games such as –I Spy, Identifying the brands of Cars, Word antankshari, A-Z country names, A-Z fruit names, A-Z animal names, Understanding Traffic sign boards etc etc….You just need to let your imagination flow and invent games…….
Just imagine the kind of knowledge a child can be exposed to while travelling……I would not recommend Reading as an activity in car as it can damage the eyes..
My husband’s posting to remote locations in India would often force me to take long train journeys…. As a responsible parent I could never allow my child to become a zombie in front of the mobile and tabs. So I designed and made a ‘Busy Box’ for him (Yes !You guessed it right- The Busybee was in my mind since then!!!).It had many self made puzzles, I spy activities, Straw string activities,No mess art activities and many more. It had about 10 activities which kept him busy trough out our long train journies.
The contents of the box and how I made it is a story for another day….I will surely share it in my blog soon. Believe me, they were one of the best toys he ever played with.
As my son grew up, I made a separate light back-pack for him which he loved to carry himself. I used to put a few good toys, a few light weight children’s books in that. This can be the first step of making your child independent.
Food is again a major aspect of travelling with a toddler. Upset tummy can be a major problem during travels. One can’t rely on outside food. So home-cooked snacks and meals are the best. While packing food keep in mind to pack child’s favourite snacks, else it will be difficult to make him/her eat. Finger food like frams, puffed rice, banana cake, fruits like banana,grapes etc which the child can eat on his own is the best for travel.
Also please refer to my blog on best food to carry while travelling with a toddler.
So let me sum up all the points I discussed above
Dos & Don’ts
Do make your child carry a wrist band or identity card with your address and phone number.
Do carry all hygienic products like sanitizer and wet & dry tissue
Do carry some newspapers along with you.
Do carry a light weight bed sheet from home
Do carry a first aid kit with all essential stuff like medicines for fever, stomach ache, bandage etc.
Do wear something like a soft stole around your neck. It comes handy Dress yourself and your child properly according to the weather.
Do try to play travel games to keep your child engaged constructively.
Do carry a busy box with puzzles,art supplies, games etc to keep your child engaged during travels
Do make a light back pack with a few books and toys if your child is big enough
Do carry home made food whenever possible. Finger foods are the best. Last but not the least,
DO PLAN YOUR STAY AND OTHER TRAVEL PLANS WELL IN ADVANCE
Don’t leave your child unattended
Don’t make your child sit on your lap in cars
Don’t read in a moving car
Travelling is more fun with kids if we do it right. The kind of exposure you give your child at that early age with travelling, it will give an edge always. Children who travel more are highly adjustable,have better immunity and are better at conversations. You would think, child might forget travel memories of those years, but the experiences are shaping him up subconsciously.
Above all you will make memories with your child, which both of you are gonna cherish for life!!!.
PS Don’t forget to click lots of pictures !