Today’s post comes from Amy, who gives tips on packing, entertaining, and practicing patience when traveling with the kiddos.
After you enter into parenthood, the world of traveling will never be the same. Traveling with two kids doesn’t just mean packing two extra bags for the little ones. Instead, it means multiple bags per child filled with clothes, toys, food, and anything else parents need to keep kids composed during a vacation. If you are planning on hitting the road with the kids for the first time — or you just need ideas for how to make traveling with young ones slightly easier — here are some tips for keeping your sanity.
What to Bring
Before you begin packing items into your luggage, create a comprehensive list of all the items you need to bring with you on your trip. If anyone needs medication, make sure you call ahead to your doctor’s office or pharmacy and have enough medicine to last you the whole trip. If you need to pick up a new medical ID bracelet for anyone you will be traveling with, Hope Paige offers stylish ID bracelets for any member of your family.
When laying out the clothes you’ll bring for the trip, split up your garments so that each member of your family has an outfit in each bag. By packing this way, if a bag should go missing during your travels (if it get left behind or the airline loses it), someone in your family isn’t left completely bare while on vacation.
Along with clothes (and backup outfits for inevitable spills), make sure you pack a bag of healthy snacks to take with you. While bringing the kids some treats as a reward for good behavior isn’t a bad idea, make sure to limit the sugary treats you provide them. An abundance of sugar will lead to the dreaded sugar rush — and the later sugar crash that all parents fear. If you’re traveling with young children who are still bottle-fed, consider purchasing a formula dispenser to make mealtime easy. Just add the pre-measured formula with water and make feeding the kids on the a breeze.
What to Do
Entertaining kids while traveling is a challenge regardless of if they’re on a plane or traveling by car. To keep the kids somewhat amused and the chants of “Are we there yet?” at bay, pack toys and books for the trip. When packing toys, avoid those that might get messy or that require a lot of parts. A coloring book and a 24-pack of crayons might sound good when your trip starts, but 15 minutes later when half the crayons are on the floor, you’ll be rethinking that choice.
Instead of the traditional coloring book, download a coloring book app onto your iPad or tablet and let your kids color without the mess. If you’re lucky enough to have a DVD player in your vehicle or if you have a portable player you’re taking with you, pair them with some of these kid-friendly headphones to block out listening to your kids’ favorite shows for the next several hours.
How to Cope
One of the biggest things you’ll need to pack when traveling is patience. Traveling is stressful for most people, and those stresses can be amplified when young children are involved. To try and make them more comfortable while traveling, attempt to stick to their routine as much as possible. If you know your kids have snacks at 10 a.m., make sure you have the snacks ready for them around that time. If you usually have dinner at 6:30 and they are into PJs at 8:30, try to ensure they still get this sense of routine while away.
If you play a particular kind of music during naptime or at bedtime, create a playlist or stream some music for the kids to enjoy when it’s time for them to sleep. If you’re driving at night, put some soothing music on for them to listen to while in the car — but if you think it might lull you to sleep, see if you can have them listen to it with their headphones on instead.