How to survive holidays with kids

Talk about it in advance

Start talking about your upcoming holiday with your little one before you go – where you are going, where you will stay, who else is coming, and what you might do, or have to eat and so on. For some children, it’s also worth reminding them that you will come home again at the end of the holiday – it might not be obvious to them.

Take it at a toddler pace

Wherever you’re heading, your holiday is likely to be packed with new experiences for your toddler, so allow extra time for them exploring, discovering and generally moving at toddler pace. There’s nothing like trying to drag your child away from a fascinating airport window to get your trip off to a flying start!

Share your plans

For older children, it can be helpful to involve them in some of the preparations – deciding which clothes or toys they want to pack - or talking about activities you’d all like to do. Getting kids involved in reading maps or spotting signs as you’re travelling can also be a good way of keeping them engaged during a long journey.

Stay safe in the sun

Remember that little ones are especially vulnerable to heat and sun – apply sunscreen regularly, and stay out of the sun during the heat of the day between 11am and 3pm. If you're going to a beach or park and not sure if there will be enough shade, you could buy a beach tent or umbrella to make your own shaded area for relief from the heat. 

Form a united front

If you’re sharing a holiday or spending time with another family, it’s likely you’ll all have different routines and different approaches to parenting. It can be useful to talk to the other parents beforehand and agree some common ground on things like bedtimes or sweet treats so that you’re not faced with constant cries of "It’s not fair!" while you’re away!

Download some fun

Take along lots of entertainment such as small toys, stickers or books to keep little ones occupied. The CBeebies apps are perfect for taking stories and games away with you, and you don’t even need wifi to use them. You can also download shows to your device using the BBC iPlayer – ideal if you’re likely to need some favourite programmes to watch while you’re away.

Be flexible, but keep some key routines

Holidays are all about doing something different, but it’s worth sticking to some of your child’s regular routines while you’re away if at all possible. For example, your little one might be sleeping in a different bed or sharing a room, but it’ll be easier for them to cope with that change if their bedtime routine stays broadly the same as it is at home. Favourite toys or stories can all help give children a familiar point to hold onto.

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