Plan Ahead – Taking Your Toddler Out and About
Taking a toddler or pre-schooler on vacation is no small feat. Your naturally curious and unpredictable one-to-four-year-old child can make it difficult to go where you want to go. Things like museums, plays, or even long plane rides can make your child irritable. However, with a bit of planning and creativity, you can make most vacation activities engaging and enjoyable for you and your toddler. From playing games to technology, here’s how to make your trip with a young child as pleasant as possible.
1. Plan ahead
Before you embark on a holiday, research the location to find activities and attractions geared toward toddlers. This could be a park where your child can play and run off extra energy before visiting a place that might not be inherently interesting to them.
You’ll also want to plan to bring things from home that will make your life easier. Always bring a change of clothes, necessary gear, favourite snacks, and toys to avoid spending your trip searching for necessities – bringing familiar toys and snacks will also help prevent your child from becoming stressed in unfamiliar situations. These things can provide a sense of comfort and security for your toddler in a new place.
2. Build in downtime
When planning outings, remember that toddlers have short attention spans, so you’re going to struggle to keep them interested in something for long periods of time. They’ll either want to do something new with boundless amounts of energy, or they’ll need a nap. Your little one needs lots of sleep, so make sure you schedule time to rest and recharge. You’ll need it for yourself too!
3. Make the experience interactive
(Especially important if the child finds a place “boring”)
Toddlers love to use their senses to experience things. Instead of spending your holiday telling your child what they can’t touch, smell, or taste, give them opportunities to engage their senses. For example, go to an interactive part of a museum where children can be hands-on.
When there aren’t explicit interactive activities available, make up your own. Engage with your child verbally by explaining what’s going on and asking them what they like (or don’t like) about the experience. Look for things that your child can touch, encouraging your child to get some sensory experience without breaking the rules.
4. Look for events/activities that interest your child
Is your little one obsessed with dinosaurs? Does your child love marine animals? Look for exhibits and events related to your toddler’s interests or experiences, like animals, transportation, or nature. This doesn’t have to be an event or a place. Many children can be enthralled with places and objects they’ve never seen before.
5. Bring alternative activities
Not all outings during vacation are going to interest your child. Bring colouring books and/or technology to keep your toddler or pre-schooler occupied when they’re tired of paying attention. Planning for your toddlers’ short attention spans will make your vacation more enjoyable.
Most importantly, be patient and have fun! Traveling with a toddler can sometimes be challenging, but it’s also an opportunity to create special memories together.