Monday, December 20, 2010

Holiday Travel with Toddlers

Today's post is being simulcast on our new column at The Washington Times.  The column is called Maternal Ammunition and we're super excited about it.

Holiday travel with a toddler almost always spans the range from wonderful to frustrating. The key is to lower your expectations, keep your sense of humor and roll with the problems that will inevitably pop up.

Tip #1: You’re probably going to lose your mind at least once. But that doesn’t mean it’s a bad trip. Having a little mommy melt-down is all part of the process. Just try to have it in the car and not in front of your in-laws. Travelling with kids is stressful and exhausting and you probably did 90% of the planning, packing and preparation. Your child is also probably so geared up that you’re wondering if someone gave him an espresso. So let your husband know ahead of time that if he starts to see signs that a breakdown is imminent, to quickly get you a People magazine and a Starbucks. Twenty minutes later you’ll be good as new.

Tip #2: Traffic does not dictate how fast you get there and how many times you will stop. Your toddler’s bladder does. Be patient and bring something to knit. It’s going to take much longer than you think to arrive at your destination. Don’t gamble on a newly potty-trained kid’s ability to hold it or the carrying capacity of a Huggie. Because remember, just like in Vegas, whatever happens in the car, stays in the car. And we don't mean secrets, we mean the lovely aroma afterwards.

Tip #3: No matter what mode of travel you’re taking (plane, train or automobile), accidents happen. Sometimes they happen on Mommy. You know to carry a spare change of clothes for the kiddo but it doesn’t hurt to bring one for yourself too. Nothing’s worse than asking yourself the age-old Mommy question: “What is THAT smell?” and then realizing it’s coming from your shirt.

Tip #4: Talk to your child and decide together some rules for the road. Changing up a little person’s schedule and throwing them in a new environment can be overwhelming. Letting them make some of the rules gives them the feeling that they have some control over what’s happening. That in turn can cut down on tantrums, tiredness and acting out. And let’s be honest, bad behavior in someone else’s house always seems much worse (for Mommy) than when it happens at home. And if someone doesn’t like the “I get to carry Thomas the Train with me wherever I go” rule, they can go suck an egg. Because the “I won’t take Baby Jesus from the manger and lick him” rule is one we can all agree with.


To read the fifth tip, click on over to Maternal Ammunition - and if you feel like it, leave a comment.  We're pretty new over there and they haven't figured out yet that we're dorks, so you'd really be doing us a solid.

xo, Kate & Lydia
(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010

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