Perhaps more than any other time of year, families with young children are on the road at Christmas. Holiday travel can be tough, but when you have babies or toddlers along, visiting relatives can get even more complicated. As a mother of twins, I learned quickly about the challenges of holiday travel with kids in tow. Here are a few tips that will help you survive your holiday trips, or at least they helped my family make it through ours.
Keep it short and sweet
The shorter your visit, the happier you are likely to be. Babies and toddlers do best with routine, and nothing breaks routine like staying in a strange place, surrounded by strange people and trying to adjust to a new schedule. A shorter visit will help get your family back to your regular routine quickly, without wearing out your welcome with family or friends.
Take a break
The lights and sounds of Christmas may overstimulate your little ones. Don't be shy about telling your hosts that your kids need to take a break. Take them to a quiet part of the house, turn down the lights and lie down with a book or take a nap.
Protect your kids
Be very aware of any dangers that may exist in the homes you are visiting. I remember visiting my sister-in-law's house when my twins were just toddlers. She had burning candles on the tables and a crate of cleaners and other chemicals in the dining room floor. She had no idea how dangerous these things were, but I did a quick run through the house, looking for dangers and helping her babyproof so the kids could move safely around her home. Safety always comes first.
Protect your host's valuables
It's hard to keep an eye on toddlers every second, especially in a crowded situation. Sparkly, pretty things catch babies' eyes and can easily be broken before anyone notices they've been nabbed. Don't hesitate to suggest that your host put pretty keepsakes in a higher place to protect them while your little ones are visiting. If they are smart, they'll appreciate the advice.
Pack lightly but bring the necessities
Traveling with babies and toddlers can feel like traveling with a circus. You have to carry just about everything but your own tent. Look for smaller, travel size items like shampoos and wipes, and pare down all the extras you can. Remember, if you are traveling at Christmas or Hanukkah, your children will likely have a lot more to bring home than they left with, so keep the toys you pack to a minimum.
If you are traveling by air, consider asking relatives to have larger gifts shipped directly to your home to help avoid extra baggage fees. Many companies offer free shipping for online purchases throughout the holidays.
Pack an extra dose of strength
Whether you are dealing with a family member who insists on smoking around others, someone who tries to feed peanut butter cookies to your allergic toddler or someone who won't stop wallowing your baby around when they are clearly exhausted, you need to be strong enough to step in and take control of the situation. Every family has their share of drama, but as a parent, you need to gear up with the strength to protect your kids from any toxic behavior during the holidays. If you do nothing else, follow this advice and your little ones will have safer, happier holidays from now on.
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Published by Tavia Fuller Armstrong
Tavia is a busy wife, mother, and educator from Oklahoma. She left her career as a biologist behind to be a full-time mom when her twins were born and began homeschooling all three of her children in 2009.... View profile
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