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Traveling in the Little Years; A parent's guide for preparation and expectations.

Summer is almost upon us and most of us have one or more trips as a family that we are looking forward to! It's never too early to plan ahead. Here a few tips that our family has learned along the way as a family of five. Some tips are from personal experience, some are from moms that have gone before me, and some are from my knowledge obtained as an infant and toddler sleep consultant.


LET'S DO THIS.



PACK YOURSELF FIRST:

All your mental energy will be spent after packing all your baby’s things (why do babies need so many things?!). Do yourself a favor with some self care and make sure you have everything you need for a great trip first.


KEEP A RUNNING PACKING LIST:

In the ‘notes’ app on my phone, I have a running packing list for each kid. Thankfully as they have gotten older, it’s gotten smaller. Yay.

This helps because you know in the chaos of packing the car and getting your kid(s) in the car, you are bound to forget a tiny detail and that detail can be very important (like a beloved lovey or pacifier). So weeks (or months) in advance, make a list of everything important to pack. Make sure to include any trip specific list (a shirt loaned that needs to be returned to your sister, pool floaties, birthday gift, etc).

Once you pack that suitcase, make sure it’s in the car. Yes, one time my husband and I packed our 3-month old’s suitcase with the said running list. But that list does nothing for you if the packed suitcase doesn’t make it to the car. What a memorable trip to St Simon’s that was! #thirdkidproblems


PACK AS YOU FOLD:

Folding laundry within a few days of leaving for a trip? Instead of putting the folded clothes back in drawers and closets, go ahead and put those favorite outfits and clothes that you know you will need in the suitcase and set aside. Guaranteed clean and loved clothes go with you on that trip!


CONSIDER YOUR LEAVING TIME:

Most of you know that young infants love a good car nap. The lull of the engine and the movement of the car is so soothing for a baby! If your little one loves to sleep on the go, plan to leave within 30 minutes of their usual nap time. Bring a portable noise machine to place near them on the car.

If your baby no longer naps well on the go and they are easily distracting by sound and light, it might be a good idea to leave right after they wake. This might be first thing in the mornings or immediately after a nap.


LOWER THE CAR AND TRIP EXPECTATIONS:

If you are planning for a solid nap and minimal fussing during your road trip, you may be disappointed. Lower the expectations and let go of things you can’t control. Prepare for a short nap and bring some fun things for your child to play with in the car. Bring ALL THE SNACKS and a sippy cup or bottle. With my babies, there were endless teething wafers and puffs used in that season. While on the trip and away from your normal environment, it is expected that your littles ones may not sleep as well. Go into your trip with the right attitude. My husband and I always tell people (and ourselves) that we may not sleep great or get great rest, but we are going to have FUN. Decrease expectations, increase making memories.


WHEN YOU ARRIVE AT YOUR DESTINATION:

1) SET UP THE BABY’S SLEEP SPACE FIRST! If naps were rough that day while on the go, you can expect an earlier bedtime. You will be thankful this space is ready for bedtime when that time comes.

2) Get your little one’s energy out. Get outside, do some tummy time, or play a fun game. Physical activity promotes better sleep! Sunlight helps regulate melatonin, helping your baby establish their circadian rhythm.



MIMIC THE USUAL BEDTIME ROUTINE.

Try your best to keep things as similar as possible. This means keeping the bedtime routine just like you do at home. Once you are home for your trip, kids usually will know their routines at home and settle back into the normal rhythm. If not, stay consistent and they will get there!


CHANGING TIME ZONES:

Traveling far?

If you are changing time zones for one week or less, keep schedule on your normal time zone. If not, adjust to new time zone. Give you and your child grace because this will take a few days.



Items to pack:

  • · Overnight diapers for long car rides (more absorbent, less leaks, and less stops to change a wet diaper).

  • · Window clings for the car to keep the sunlight out of their eyes.

  • · Portable noise machine for the car.

  • · An extension cord for a room with minimal outlets. You will thank me when the outlet is too far from where you want your camera or noise machine. Also there always seems to be not enough plugs for all those devices!

  • · Portable black out curtains (suction cups to the rescue).

  • · Pack n Play and Slumberpod.

  • · Hatch or Ok-to-wake clock: You will want this for your toddler, especially if they are well trained on when it’s okay to get out of bed in the morning. It’s worth the suitcase space!

  • Pacifier clip to prevent losing countless thrown pacifiers in the car.

Want links to the above items? Check out my 'favorite items' story highlight on instagram.



 

THINGS I AM LOVING.


The audiobook library app HOOPLA and LIBBY. So many reads (for free) that I can listen to while folding laundry or driving.


The book, 'The Life Giving Home; creating a place of belonging and becoming' by Sally and Sarah Clarkson. Just started this and really enjoying it!


Sourdough bread. Thanks to a friend and my sister in law for answering my many questions as I learned and finally mastered (mostly) the craft of bread-making. The process, the tactile art of it, the finished product, and gifting a loaf to random people has been so fun.


Our church, Warren Belvedere. Currently in a series on family and how God designed it from the very beginning in Genesis 1. Need a church family? Message me if interested in coming.



T-ball season: Nothing cuter than seeing your kid in a baseball uniform. HERE FOR IT.



Thanks for reading. Would love to hear anything you are loving or your favorite tip for road-triping with littles. Share this blog link with a parent friend who has lots of travels ahead.


Sweet dreams!

Paige

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