We’ve just returned from a glorious holiday with our two little boys to Majorca, and we all had fabulous fun. As always, I found I returned home having learned a few more lessons about going on holiday with children, so I have some new tips to share!
1. Help them to understand what “holiday” actually means before you go.
It didn’t occur to me that my 4 year old, who doesn’t go on holiday often, would have little understanding of what holiday actually means, and I wish I had explained it better. When we arrived, he found it difficult to adjust to sleeping in a different room. This was, of course, expected. He kept saying that he wanted to go back to his old house, that he was scared of the curtains and the walls. On the 4th night, we had a long conversation, in which it emerged that he actually thought we had moved to Majorca and we were never going home again! Once I explained that this was a “holiday” ( where we go somewhere nice, have fun for a week, and come home)all of his fears melted away, and he slept soundly from 7-7!
2. Have a think about how you can make their new sleeping environment more “familiar”.
Children are creatures of habit and routine, so anything that can help them settle is a big plus, for them and for you. Our holiday accommodation provided simple sheets for bedding (it was hot, after all), but of course our children are used to sleeping under duvets. Clearly, I couldn’t have fitted a duvet in the suitcase, but it did occur to me that next time I could take their pillow cases…just a little something extra from home. My 21 month old did have his sleeping bag, and slept soundly from night one, so perhaps this proves something. My oldest son sleeps with a gro clock, which he uses every night, so I also wished we had taken that along. One of my friends actually said she is going to pay for an extra suitcase next time to take her son’s duvet, it costs an extra £20, but she feels it will make a bit difference!
3. Think about flights and naps.
If you have a small baby, who is still ready to nap anywhere, this shouldn’t really be an issue, but my 21 month old “infant” missed his nap because I booked a 3.00pm flight, and he usually sleeps at 1.00pm, when we were checking in. I should have napped him earlier in the day, but was busy running around and didn’t think it through. The flight was okay, but he was a bit over-tired and manic and wanted to run up and down the aisle…we all know how much sunnier the day seems when they get their nap 🙂
4. Take arm bands for your little ones, from crawlers up.
I say this because my little one can’t yet swim, but he does enjoy a good run-around the pool. This caused me a little bit of worry as I was petrified he would fall in. I hadn’t thought to buy him arm-bands, but they would have been a good investment, and a bit of extra security.
5. Try to keep them in routine.
I would add here, at least whilst they are small. Older children are more adaptable, and will sleep later if they stay up later…little ones as it turns out, not so much. Their routine plays back into the familiar….of course it’s difficult with a time change, but even having a familiar nap in the morning or afternoon, meals spaced out at their usual intervals, bath, story and bed, can make a huge difference.
6. If in doubt, take the Ipad!
I left it at home to save on luggage, big mistake…big…huge! (in the words of Julia Roberts!), it would have been super useful!! 🙂
7. Make sure you have some fun activities planned for passing the time on your plane journey.
Try some of our “Great Games for Cars and Planes”, we played lots of these, and they really did work well to keep the little ones amused. One addition I will be making is for sticker books. Our four year old passed a good hour and a half on his 🙂 We also took a lot of exercise in the airport, and that was a real must.
…we’ll keep you updated with our experiences as we go! We’d love to invite you to share your child-friendly holiday tips with us and other parents, please do [email protected] Thank you!