When you are travelling or simply going to the park with babies and small children, it makes sense to be well prepared and to have all the tools with you to help them and you be happy anywhere. See below some practical tips for when you are travelling in the car, going on a holiday or simply going to the park or shops. We would also love to hear some of your tips. Please submit a tip below so we can share them with other mums and dads.
When mine were younger & we were travelling a lot, i wrapped tiny presents for the kids to unwrap every half hour. As toodlers, this managed to get them learning the time, using a watch, etc. Tiny gifts included crayons, stickers, edible treats, playdough, tiny books, tools, craft bits; mostly from the $2 shops.I was always complimented on my kids' behaviour after a flight.
We take a boxes of colourful bandaides, purchased for $2 at cheap shops, whenever we travel either by car or on our regular plane trips to New Zealand. These keep our daughter occupied for hours, playing doctor with her animals or simply covering herself (and us!) with bandaides. Such a cheap, easy distraction!!
Take a container full of ordinary coloured pegs with a lid. Babies and toddlers can attach to themselves, you or the container - it's the toy that keeps on giving and costs next to nothing if they throw them down the aisle!
I save up all the toy catologues from the big retailers throughout the year, then when we go on a long car trip I give them to the kids and it keeps them occupied for absolutely ages as they love looking at all the toys they already own or the toys they would love to have. It's the best thing I could ever have thought of and doesn't cost a single cent :)
When going on a family road trip, time petrol stops around meals stops. Find the nearest park or fast food restaurant with a playground. Get the kids out of the car, one of you can let them run around while the other one goes and fills up with petrol and gets something to eat. When you are ready to leave, organize something for the kids to eat when you get back in the car. This way they have had maximum time burning energy, and eating will amuse them for a while when they first get back into the car. With tired legs and a full belly they may even drift to sleep!
I freeze fruit (strawberries, grapes and mangoes) in ice trays for when my baby is teething. It relives the pain and gives him something healthy to suck on.
My three year old loves stickers. I have found giving him a sheet of stickers and an excercise book to stick them in has entertained him for hours
This is what I did to make TT-ing and being able to leave the home, possible. First of all, get child to "try" to go, before you leave home. The one day you don't do this, they need to go immediately you start driving! Keep a Boon potty in the back of the car, with a bag containing loo paper, nappy wetbag for holding wet undies etc, change of clothing, potty training storybook, extra potette bags. Put a piddle mat on my child's car seat for "insurance" against accidents Carry a potette and potette bags in my tote, so once we got to parks, playgrounds, beach where there either were NO loos, or loos too far away to get to "in time". I got all these products at H & S in the "out and about" section, except the nappy wetbag, I bought that at baby beehinds. Having good cloth trainers made a lot of difference too, having trainers with good absorbency built in, and a waterproof outer, gave me peace of mind, travelling in the car with a TT-ing toddler. I got the washable trainers (Imse Vimse) at Nurture Nappies.
If your wee bub is teething and would like to chew or suck on anything within its reach, well, I have a great tip for you. Pour some cooled boiled water over a clean washed face washer. Squeeze out most of the excess water, (with your clean washed hands). Place the face washer into a zip-locked bag and pop it into the freezer. Leave it there for about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the zip-locked bag and give it to your bub. It's nice and cold on bub's gums and gives them something to suck on. It works a treat.
Leave a packed nappy bag in the car (containing all your necessary items). With a spare t-shirt and undies if appropriate. This way whenever you head out in the car - you bag is there ready to go, and it is one less thing to pack.
Make a game board with road signs or anything that you might come across on your trip e.g. cows, railway line etc and then laminate it. Give the kids a whiteboard marker and they have to cross off each thing they see. You could have a small prize for the winner.
Something different to do with the kids at the park. Take a pad and either pencils, crayons or charcoal and draw the surroundings. Especially helpful if you have an older sibling not interested in playing at the park.
We just got back from our first plane trip with our 2 year-old twins. The best thing to keep them amused on the plane was a little tub each of Playdoh - inexpensive, easy to clean up, and kept them amused for ages!
Some bibs look pretty... some don't! Some children like to wear them....some don't! Have an extra t-shirt on hand. It is easy to pull over special clothes. Can even turn it inside out if necessary. Just as easy to wash as a bib.
Little people love pulling tissues out of the box, so if you can cope with it, let them have a full box to empty one tissue at a time. Easily cleaned up! If not, put little toys or hankies into an empty tissue box and they have just as much fun trying to get them out.
When travelling long distance and you want your baby to sleep but it is are too noisy, get a muslin wrap with some blue tack so you can stick to the wall and cover around them. (Of course only works in the bulk head seats with the travel cot)
Travelling long distances, with small toddlers I always have a bag of tricks, small toys, finger puppets, stickers and the best thing and cheap a packet of bandaids with characters. Don't laugh your child may look funny getting off covered in bandaids but its amazing how much fun they can have. Happy content child means you can relax. Shelley
If travelling long distances by air with a small baby, consider taking a compact, lightweight Moses basket. They will be able to sleep in comfort anywhere, including airports and restaurants while you are away. Ours was also a perfect fit for the airline bassinets.
Keep one of the kids water bottles on hand in the freezer. When it is time for an outing - grab it to go. This way if you end up being out and about longer than you thought (or in fact all day) you will always have drinkable water on hand not lukewarm 'yuk' water!
Keep a collection of plastic grocery bags stuffed into a toilet roll or paper towel roll in the glove box. It takes up hardly any room and the bags are invaluable for unexpected vomits, storing wet towels/togs or the clothes from unexpected toilet accidents.
When going on holidays order your groceries online and have them delivered to your destination the day you arrive.
Haggus & Stookles
Ensure you have a First Aid Kit in the car always. These are inexpensive yet invaluable, from helping to ease an ant bite at the park to assisting in more serious accidents.
Remember you can't take more than 100ml of any liquid on board an international flight. (this includes water for kids drink bottles - fill them up after security). And all the 100ml bottles need to fit in a little plastic bag (it's not unlimited small containers). Although baby food and drink is exempt from these rules.
When you prepare food for outings cut your fruit & vegetables into sticks and shapes that your kids can pick up and eat as they wander around. This will save you having to keep them still in one spot while they eat and gives you an instant distraction.
Bring a spare T-shirt for you in your carry-on luggage in case your child vomits all over you.
Hey Donna, My name is Sam Fisher and I'm emailing on behalf of my client House of Fraser. I noticed that your site has lots of information on child safety and I was wondering if you would be interested in hosting a child safety info-graphic on your websites tip page and your kids travel blog found here: http://www.kidstravelblog.com.au/? The safety of children is extremely important so I've recently made an Infographic showing some of the surprising facts around the danger of holiday sun for young children. The Infographic is in the style of a child's drawing and might be of interest to you and your readers. I'll add a quick preview here: http://visual.ly/toddler-sun-safety Your more than welcome to host this on your blog, if you want I can even provide a guest post to go along with it or you can do your own copy. Let me and I'll forward you on the full sized attachment. All the best Sam