In third world countries, a mother with three toddlers carries one on her back, one on the front while holding the other by the hand. They tag along for long distances; walking, crying, and sometimes chatting happily.
They have to walk for miles to get a connecting bus to their destination. Whether visiting relatives or to a hospital. Sometimes, the mother carries a load on her head with the children’s food supplies, water, and their clothes.
On a lucky day, they get a lift on a donkey cart or a camel back or at the back of a truck if they are extremely lucky. The mother keeps holding the babies when they sleep on those rough terrains; she feeds them amidst the turns and bends. Once in a while, she requests for a stopover for the babies to pee or poo.
What a tough travel for the women out there? Mind you, the men are normally nowhere near. The woman must fight through it all. Most of them do not have the fancy baby wraps we have. They use the ‘lesso’, a piece of cloth that they tie around the baby and fasten with a knot near the shoulder.
Someone is reading this and wondering … how in the world do these people survive? They do. Furthermore, babies all over the world have the same concerns.
The three most important things during travel especially to a toddler are food, freedom, and fatigue.
All children experience hunger every two or three hours, if they do not get a bite, they start nagging, crying and sometimes throwing tantrums.
Kids also hate being confined. They like to move around, see things and play without feeling limited. After that, they like to get some good rest. That’s why your pediatrician will insist on baby naps.
With that in mind, let me show you how you can balance your travel and make it easier for yourself and the babies.
STEP 1: Mental preparation
· Share with your children your travel plan. Even if they can’t talk or reason yet, they hear you. They anticipate and become cooperative as you wake them up early, bathe and dress them, feed them and strap them on their travel seat.
· If they can talk, then discuss with them. Let them know how much fun they will have, how important it is to wake up early and wear comfortable clothes. Tell them who they are going to meet; the length of your stay and the expected arrival time.
Don’t be surprised when they wake you up to prepare. This idea works like magic.
STEP 2: Packing
When my baby was on diapers, I used to carry luggage like I was moving houses. I would carry loads and loads until one day my friend talked me out of it.
The secret to avoid over-packing is this; ask yourself… what can’t I do without? That way, you carry necessities only. If you pack from the mindset of, what we need; you will pack the whole wardrobe.
· Pack clothes in sets and roll them instead of making square-like or rectangular folds. For example, if you are carrying three rompers, don’t fold them separately, place them on top of each other and roll them to make a pipe like package. That way you use less space.
· Carry your children’s favorite snacks. Travel time is not the time to force your kids to take spinach and carrot juice if they loathe it. You will make your journey long and terrible. Try compromise for your own sanity.
STEP 3: Travel breaks
Kids hate to stay in one place for a long time. It will definitely vex them to be strapped into that car seat for hours unless they are asleep.
Take healthy breaks after every ninety minutes for example. They can run around for a few minutes, stretch, visit the toilet and re-energize for the rest of the journey.
Please note it is a high risk to travel with your toddler in the front seat (Especially if they can’t use the belt). Even for short distances, make it a habit of traveling with your children in the back seat. It improves your concentration and also increases their chances of survival in case of an accident. Do you find traveling with toddlers cumbersome? How do you do it? Let’s engage on this one in the comment section.