We’ve traveled for 3 weeks out of the last 6. That is a LOT for a two-year-old who has a pretty good routine. When we’re home – our day normally looks like:
Wake up: 6:30/7:00 am
Nap: 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Play-time while mom cooks dinner
Dinner: 6:00 pm
But changing time zones, running around visiting people, and not to mention not having your own house can throw all of that off. I have to hang it to my kid- for needing her naps- she champs it when she needs to and doesn’t get naps.
When we were in Virginia for a week, she didn’t get a nap unless it was a car ride. She went from 2-3 hours of a solid nap at home to 20-minute intervals maybe once or twice. And when she was done in the evening SHE.WAS.DONE. Can’t say I blame her.
But managing family expectations with your toddlers is enough to throw parenting into a total upheaval. So what do you do? What do you do when your kid is crying, they need sleep, there are too many people, they’re refusing to eat, what have you? How do you manage?
You find a space inside of you and you drop all of the expectations. You stop with the “at home they should be” and instead you look at your options in front of you and you make it work. So how exactly do you do that? You’re probably asking. Let me give you some of my real life examples.
When Evelyn would start melting down and not listening, we went for a walk.
When I could tell she needed some space we went and ran an errand.
You take your time getting ready at the hotel and wait until they wake up naturally before going to meet people.
You excuse yourself for the night directly after dinner to go back to the hotel and wind down.
You feed them when they’re hungry.
You find ways to introduce play even if it isn’t normal: i spy outside, chalk on the sidewalk, clean up books or magazines in the house, go smell the flowers outside and find bugs. Color me a picture, let’s read a book. And even- let’s watch a movie can sometimes help break it all up.
Don’t force them to greet people, or interact with people, just tell them when they’re ready they can join a group. Meeting a lot of strangers (even if they are family) can be really overwhelming to kids and they can act out for attention or frustration. Meet them where they are at. Go find a back room and sit quietly with them until they can regain their composure.
They key is to try your best to just go with the flow- getting worked up about things not being the same as when they are at home is when you will run into a lot of issues. Travel is hard on littles and until they understand how to cope with their emotions, you just have to try and see it from their perspective.
Got any other tips I should add to my arsenal for future travels? Drop them in the comments- I’d love to hear more!