It’s no secret that going anywhere with small children is a challenge. Gone are the days of you and your spouse just picking up and going whenever and wherever on a whim. Then you throw in trying to go on vacation and needing everything you could potentially need for a week span? It seems nearly impossible to some and incredibly overwhelming to others.
Well I’m here to share what has helped make our first vacation with an almost 11 month old (relatively) easy!
1. Pack a Sound Machine
We all know sleep can be disrupted when kids are taken out of their usual environment and routine so we want to prevent as many issues as possible, right? We use this sound machine every night with Liam anyway but bring this with us was super helpful during our trip. Depending on where you are staying, a beach house in our case, it definitely helps drown out any outside noise so he can get to sleep even while people are up and about in the house. If you already use a sound machine at night, bringing it with you will at least bring some semblance of routine with you on your trip helping your kids drift off into dreamland. Don’t have enough room to bring the sound machine itself? You can download a sound machine app on your phone or iPad to get the same effect.
2. Buy a playard
I saw this playard recommended by Jordan from Fun Cheap of Free on her Instagram stories one day and ordered it almost immediately and it has been a great purchase. It’s basically a light-weight playpen that folds up to the size of a large camping chair and is incredibly easy to put up and take down. We took this out on the beach to keep Liam contained so we could sit and relax a bit and he loved it. We didn’t get the canopy that you can get with it because we have a tent for the beach but that could also be useful if you want to use this just out in your yard or something like that. Highly recommended!
3. Bring Toys (Lots of toys!)
This was a recommendation from my SIL and I’m so glad we packed more toys! This won’t be as easy if you’re flying but if you’re driving, pack what you can fit in your car. We brought a big bag full of some of Liam’s little toys to help keep him occupied. Fortunately, he is equally entertained by empty water bottles, empty boxes, clips to keep your towel on your chair, etc. but it’s good to have a few of their go to’s with you to keep them occupied at and keep the house/hotel room in one piece. 🙂
4. Be flexible
People have been preaching about schedules and children forever but ya know what? Sometimes they don’t stick to a schedule and you’ve gotta give a little. The first two days of our trip Liam’s schedule was completely out of whack but we were able to get him (mostly) back on track with the exception of him consistently waking up around 5:00am (why though?) every morning. Also, we typically don’t let him have many treats but, it’s vacation so he had his first cake pop and has had a few cookies here and there too. But on the plus side, he’s also learning to be more flexible and eating different foods that he hadn’t eaten before and was able to go with the flow…as much as an almost 1-year-old can anyway.
Moral of the story here is don’t try to be too rigid. There is always time to go back to a strict schedule once you’re back home but vacation is supposed to be fun for both you and your kids so letting them push back nap time or bed time to stay out at the beach a little longer or go do a fun activity with the family won’t kill either of you.
5. Be Patient!
I’m still working on this one personally but meltdowns are inevitable. Sometimes you’ve just gotta roll with the punches and we have spent a LOT of time walking around outside of restaurants to prevent any major, head turning meltdowns. It’s difficult adjusting to life with kids but these are the days I live for, meltdowns and all.