Tips to help your holiday go smoothly (Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series)Posted: 04/07/2014
Holidays with your toddler are a slightly different prospect than when it’s just you and your partner. This blog series provides information on planning a holiday, with this final part giving tips to help ensure your holiday goes smoothly for you all.
I have put together this Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series, covering the questions I ask myself during the planning process and tips for travelling with a toddler:
- Part one: Where to go and where to stay – considerations for family holidays
- Part two: How to get there – tips for travelling by car with a toddler
- Part three: How to get there – tips for travelling by air with a toddler
- Part four: Packing essentials – what to take and what to leave behind
- Part five: Making the holiday work for you all – scheduling some parent downtime and tips to ensure the holiday goes smoothly
Tips to help your holiday go smoothly
It’s not easy to get time off with a toddler but there are ways to squeeze in a little downtime to your holiday.
Play toddler tag team
Take turns to be on ‘toddler duty’ so one person gets, say, half an hour or so to sit, relax and do nothing while the other is watching your little one and then swap over. We did this on our beach holiday last year and even those short chunks of time to chill out were lovely!
Take the grandparents!
This has been our tactic for our main holiday each year so far. Obviously, this requires a set of grandparents that you get on with well enough to spend your holiday with… but it can be a huge help, giving you the chance to relax a bit during the day and even, gasp, go out together for dinner or drinks in the evening. Other family members or friends would work just as well!
Make use of on site creches and kids clubs
Many places offer crèche facilities and/or kids clubs which keep the children entertained in a secure place for a chunk of time. You can ask to have a look around when you arrive and talk to the people running the clubs to make sure you are happy to leave your toddler there.
And to help everything go smoothly…
Plan activities you know your toddler will enjoy
The more toddler-friendly your activities are, the more relaxing your days will be. That’s not to say you can’t do some of the ‘grown up’ things you’d like to do, just that it’s worth factoring in how you can make these things work for your toddler. For example, we attempted an excursion by car on our recent holiday, which, although was a fine day out, would have worked a lot better if we’d fully realised how long it would take to drive over the mountains to get there (thank you Nana for providing the in-car entertainment to get us through the last half an hour!). Cue a rush at our destination to find somewhere suitable for lunch, instead of the lazy wandering around we had imagined!
Keep to a routine
When we took our first holiday abroad, I relaxed into holiday mode straight away, ready to do things a bit differently than at home, just as I would do usually when away. This didn’t work very well! The first couple of days were hard work until we figured out that we did need to keep some semblance of a routine for ToddlerGirl. We’re not the most scheduled family but things were definitely easier once we found a rhythm to our days.
For us, this meant getting up and out of our accommodation as soon as possible in the morning, rather than hanging around for family members, trying to keep ToddlerGirl entertained and quiet until they were all awake! (We found a lovely little spot on a beach with a café nearby where we could grab a coffee and snacks to take out while ToddlerGirl played in the sand, and I have very fond memories of those beautiful and relaxing mornings.) We then also made sure to factor in a nap time, which we’d been a bit cavalier with at first.
The moral of the story: don’t throw out all your routines from home just because you’re on holiday!
OK, so now I am completely contradicting myself! But, while toddlers undoubtedly need to keep some routine to their day, don’t be afraid to change things around a bit. For our holidays abroad, we’ve moved naps around to make them later in the day, allowing us to have a later dinner and bedtime with ToddlerGirl. This worked particularly well on our recent holiday, where she loved joining in the mini disco at our accommodation every evening! The later bedtimes also meant a little lay in for us in the mornings, which was lovely.
You will know how much leeway you have in your daily routines with your little one, so make the most of this to enjoy your holiday.
And here are some great tips and tricks from around the web:
- Packing checklists from Mumsnet
- A busy basket of activities for roadtrips from Learning 4 Kids
- Maps, apps and naps – tips for travelling with kids from Nothing If Not Intentional
- Taking the tears out of holidays with toddlers
- A selection of free printables on my Printables for Toddler Activities board on Pinterest
I hope you’ve enjoyed this series on Planning a Holiday with a Toddler. What holidays have you taken with your toddler? Do you have any great tips to share?
Find links to the whole Planning a Holiday with a Toddler series below:
- Where to go and where to stay – considerations for family holidays
- How to get there – tips for travelling by car with a toddler
- How to get there – tips for travelling by air with a toddler
- Packing essentials – what to take and what to leave behind
- Making the holiday work for you all – scheduling some parent downtime and tips to ensure the holiday goes smoothly