One of the greatest fears of taking a toddler on holiday is the journey there, be it a six hour car drive, two hour flight, one hour ferry crossing or the dreaded long-haul flight. Mrs ATWWAH helps us survive the journeys from home with a toddler.
Try to travel at a time when you think your toddler will be at their best (or asleep). We regularly travel up north by car to see our family and tend to leave after bath time as we can put Master ATWWAH in his pyjamas and he’ll nod off in his car seat for the majority of the journey. And the theory is the motorway should have cleared of rush hour traffic.
What to pack to keep toddlers entertained
Take a good selection of favourite snacks and drinks:
Apparently bananas promote sleep, worth knowing for anyone doing a long haul flight with a toddler, even if you take a bunch to give out to your fellow passengers
Pack a bag full of entertainment:
Including a favourite toy and lots of books. For older toddlers sticker books and a colouring book with crayons can keep them entertained for ages.
Always take a pram:
There’s salways going to be that time when your flight/ferry/train is delayed and your little one will need to sleep. Prams mean when they do nod off they are easy to get around and you don’t have to wake them – and you can take the chance to do some Duty Free shopping safe in the knowledge that they won’t be dropping bottles of perfume on the floor or trying on the MAC testers.
But my biggest tip is to not leave for a long journey without an ipad (or other tablet device) I have no idea what our parents did without them but they are a gift from the heavens.
Before you leave you can download lots of games and stories as well as favourite shows from channels such as CBeebies by using the iPlayer app.
Favourite apps: Master ATWWAH’s favourites include the Postman Pat app full of games involving all the characters with different difficulty levels, the Cars story app which tells the story of the film and has jigsaws to complete as it goes along, and a Doodle app which is a bit like an Etch-A-Sketch
Even when the volume button is turned up with the noise of other traffic or passengers, they are not disruptive. Unless you’re on public transport such a plane, train or ferry, in which case pack a pair of cool headphones as not to disturb the other passengers.
They are also light so easy to travel with, as well as lasting a good few hours when fully charged.
Old fashioned games:
Obviously nothing beats some of the old fashioned games you can play with your toddler on journeys. Master ATWWAH loves looking out of the window of the car and telling us what he can see, although it does get a bit repetitive on a motorway, ‘car, car, truck, car, car…’ and on flights he loves the in-flight safety card and will spend a good amount of time looking at it and talking about the pictures.
Lots of operators now provide entertainment for children, whether it’s in-flight TV with lots of cartoons, easyjJet’s snack boxes aimed at children with colouring books included, or activity packs provided by Virgin Trains on all their routes.
When a toddler tantrum erupts…
If a tantrum does erupt my best advice would be to try anything to stop it even if you end up looking like an idiot yourself. On the way back from holiday once, on a four hour flight, Master ATWWAH decided to have a tantrum in the aisle of the plane and sat down screaming as he couldn’t understand why he had to sit in a seat and not wander around.
As I hid in my seat pretending I wasn’t with him Mr ATWWAH picked him up, held him up so he was facing the rest of the plane and its passengers who had stopped to watch the meltdown and made a little announcement about how everyone was now looking at him as he was making so much noise and they were all wondering what was wrong with the little boy who was crying so much.
It could have backfired horribly but instead Master ATWWAH proceeded to smile and wave at people and calmed down.