The holiday season is synonymous with together-time. Hosting family dinners, visiting parents and grandparents, or spending time with friends and loved ones. There’s nothing better than getting together with the people you love to share in the season of giving. Your little ones will form some of their core memories surrounded by their grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But for some of us, that memory-making takes a bit more planning, prepping, and traveling with our little ones. To help make that trip to their grandparents’ house a smooth ride, here are some tips to keep in mind as you pack the car – kids, presents, and all.
Bring a Little Piece of Home with You
No matter how much your little ones love spending time with their cousins or grandparents, being away from home for any extended period can be overwhelming. If this is your family’s first time away going away for the holidays, it will be doubly intimidating. Bring something that will remind them of home, like their favorite bed sheets or a soft blanket they use at home. They’ll be running back to their grandparents in no time.
Create a Safe Play Space
Unless they have a toddler of their own running around, you can’t expect whoever you’re visiting to childproof their entire house. To make it safe for your children to explore, bring temporary childproofing gear for the main rooms and a portable play yard or baby gates to section off where it’s safe for your LOs to run free (under your watchful eye, of course).
Remember Your Compact Stroller
Your full-size stroller might be essential in your everyday life, but when you’re visiting family, it might be a bit too unwieldy and take up essential trunk space. Instead, bring a compact stroller for afternoon strolls or last-minute shopping trips. That way you still have a place for your adventuring child to rest but won’t have to worry about fitting everything in the car for the drive home.
Bring an Extra Car Seat Base
If your baby is still little enough to ride in an infant car seat, think about bringing an extra car seat base to install in a family member’s car. Your parents may want to spend as much time as they can with your precious one, and you’ll probably want some alone time, so make it a win-win situation by adding an extra base to their car. You won’t have to worry about their installation skills, and they’ll just have to click the seat in before driving off with your kiddo in tow.
Schedules Are Important, But Not Necessary
Sticking to a regular schedule is helpful in giving your little one a sense of normalcy in an unfamiliar environment. With everything else changing, knowing they can rely on snacks at 10am and naps at 1pm can help your babies enjoy spending time with their extended family. But if playtime extends a little past normal, it’s also okay to ease the reins a little bit. Let your kiddo call the shots on whether their rigid schedule is necessary or not. Just don’t let them run wild with the keys to the castle.
Whether you’re heading over the river and through the woods or flying right over it all, traveling with children doesn’t have to be a big ordeal. With these tips (and a bit of patience), your journey can be just as enjoyable as the destination.