Wednesday, January 24, 2018

My Ingredients for an Almost Perfect Trip with Your Toddler

Exploring nature in Zehdenick, Brandenburg
Even if once in a while I keep posting tips and inspiration about how to enjoy your time with your little baby in Berlin, from the moment my son was born I knew I will not switch to a mom travel blogger writer. Although me and my little baby we are often on the road, and even since he was as young as 4 months old, I keep being interested mostly in grown up schedule and travel itineraries and topics. 
However, as my blog reflects my travels, diary-style, I want to share my inspiration and ideas for helping mothers like me, to dare take their little ones on a trip out of the comfort zone, at least once the month. I've often heard moms that keep telling that being out with a baby, especially a toddler who is becoming to be very active, is very hard, but staying in the house all day is also a challenge and it may get the kid even more unhappy. Breathing fresh air, interacting with other people, including children his age, discovering the world, are so many interesting activities that will only benefit your child, and bring you, the poor mother mostly juggling with hundreds of challenges, a ray of light and some diversity. Of course, when it comes to children, things shall be a little bit more organised and therefore, here are my tips about preparing to spend one day out of town with your toddler.

Snow in Ilsenburg, Harz Mountains
Check the Weather Conditions

Even if there are no chances of encountering a different season three or four hours away from home, sometimes the temperature differences can be challenging. The last weekend, we spent some lovely time in the mountain area of Harz where snow-capped mountains requested a completely different dress code than the usual light outfits from Berlin. 

Take some Extra Clothes

I always love to travel light, even when I have to be away for a week or more. When you are out with the baby, things might change but if you are still using a buggy, you can just pack everything in the big luggage space of the mobile car. Regardless if you travel the summer or the winter, children do spontanous things therefore, an extra t-shirt, clean socks and a warm pullover will help him to feel better and you to avoid the usual screams associated with baby-unhappiness. 

Enough Food and Water Supplies

Especially if you are a weekend traveller, as we often do, the risk in many small village places is to have everything closed down, especially in Germany. People here use to spend those two days for bonding with family and planning activities together - as we do, too - therefore, many restaurants or food courts are closed because maintaining a business open those days is just non-profitable. When we travel, we often prefer to take our own food supplies, just in case that the train is too late, or we prefer to spend more time outdoors or we just want to save more money for the next trip. 
Therefore, I either prepare everything the evening before - snacks, sandwiches, some cold meals, fresh fruits and vegetables - or I wake up early in the morning to have everything fresh. 
The water supplies are very important, and we always have a full bottle of water with us. You can also buy different sugar-based juices from big drugstore chains, but following the advice of my pediatrician, I rather keep it on the healthy side of the baby world. 

Be Ready for Emergencies

When you have small children, be always ready for different kinds of emergencies. You don't have to feel guilty for them, as it can happen at home as well - sometimes the incidence might be even higher, with the baby roaming around the hot pot or climbing on chairs and tables when the poor mom is having her once second of privacy...
When you travel, don't forget to have with you the insurance card, as well as a small bag with first help items, like sanitizer, pflasters and if your kid suffers from allergies, specific pills. If your baby has a special medical condition, be sure that you get the advice of the pediatrician about what you should avoid when on the road.


Toys and some Colourful Books too

Until 6-7 years or so, the little ones will prefer to take with them outside a toy from home, as a way to keep a certain connection with their stable life when on the road. My baby is always having with him a little piece of LEGO or a bigger stuffed animal, to keep him company, but I always take at least one small book to look at when the train trip is becoming too boring, or even one additional small toy - for example, a car - to fill the time with some more entertainment. In some cases, you can also buy on the road, but I usually prefer to avoid buying for the sake of buying things that may necessarily be useful, but just a compulsive way to spend money and unwise way to show affection.

Talk about What You See

Especially when little children are starting to develop their language skills, it is important that the parents are engaging with the environment. It doesn't mean to utter non-sense such as mentioning words without any connection with each other, but telling, in a pleasant and slow paced voice, stories about what you see, explaining the environment and showing the colours and other details. It is a great way to learn about world, and an encouragement to explore later by himself.

Avoid Electronic Devices
Interacting with animals is so nice!

I am usually that kind of human that avoid being critical against other human beings, but life is also made out of choices and it is important to set limites and write the story of your life too. For instance, I am not so in favor of keeping your kids busy checking Apps and Tablets for the sake of keeping them quiet. Why not trying to engage with them instead and make them part of the family meal or of the conversation or of the trip? After all, they are here with you not as pets, but for enjoying the activities and the landscape as well.
When we are in the train or in the car, we spend an impressive amount of time observing the landscape and giving short descriptions of what we see. After all, that YouTube video and short movie will be always there, the view is unique and inspiring on the spot. 

Check for Special Children Activities

Before you plan a trip, be sure that you are going in a place where you can have, at least one activity of interest for children. Having children means giving up a bit from your personal freedom - I avoid to utter the word 'sacrifice' because it is a little bit too pathetic for my style - and therefore, you need to keep in mind the interests of your baby too. Mine - and many many others too - love to see animals and therefore we are always having in mind some farms or zoos when on the road. Otherwise, we also love to check the local offer of parks or even family friendly coffees where we can meet other moms and their babies too, as we did in Bamberg two years ago. The older the baby gets the better as you can include in your schedule more complex destinations, such as children/toys museums, or technical/science museums too, like the amazing one from Wolfsburg, designed by the late world famous architect Zaha Hadid. 

Travels with your baby is not an easy piece of cake, but at least you can try and at the end of the day, it will help both of you to create beautiful memories. Don't forget to take some pictures too to look at later when at home, planning the next adventure together!

What about you? What are your tips for a journey with your toddler?




10 comments:

  1. I am not a mommy, but I can relate to all the tips you mention. I take care of these things even when I travel alone, so travelling with a kid demands extra care.

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    1. I agree that as long as you are into travel, you have the right background for finding the a great toddler adventure too.

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  2. These sound like good advice even for daily home life, actually. But then again, my observation of people with children nowadays, is that the children will behave on trips and outings, pretty much the way they are allowed to at home. And anyway, travel is just like anything else in life with kids - another aspect of grown life to prepare them for, rather than to avoid.

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    1. You are right. But there is also the chance that their behavior will adjust to social interactions. Travel can play an important part in the education process.

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  3. Traveling with a toddle sounds daunting, however, you make it look simple! Great tips. :) Everyone should be able to experience travel and other cultures. A+

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    1. Thank you! Happy to live in a world where there are so many interesting opportunities for family travel!

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  4. Great tip about talking about your surrounding with the kids they often come up with some details I wouldn't have noticed. And snacks, snacks and more snacks.

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  5. Nice tips. I always talk about what we see with my son. I think that develops their interest to explore new places and to travel more. Germany has become one of the best places for families. - Varsha

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    1. Germany has definitely a lot of advantages for family travels and people do travel a lot with their kids.

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