We just got back from an AWESOME vacation!! We were visiting our family in the sunny south, and even though it was rainy and yucky (which is a bummer after the long winter we have had in Virginia Beach), it was still wonderful hanging out with family and friends.
However, when you take a child (particularly a small child) out of their routine, it isn’t always a happy time.
Maggie adjusted well this vacation, but she hasn’t always. The very first vacation we took her on, she was 5 months old and she cried the first night almost the whole night because of being over-tired and just out of her routine. It was difficult, but we still made the most of it, even with a screaming baby.
If you ever find your child out of sorts because you are out of routine, here are a few tips that have helped our family get through:
1. Do your best to keep the sleeping routine
I know you want to keep your kiddos up a little later to spend time with friends and family that are visiting, but trust me, it is not worth the meltdowns. It serously isn’t. So definitely try to keep the sleeping routine as close to normal as possible. This includes what your routine looks like at home. Our routine is bath time, story time, and then rocking for a few minutes, and then she goes in her crib. When we are on vacation or away from home, we try to stick to this routine as much as possible.
2. Bring along familiar toys
We brought along all of Maggie’s favorite toys and stuffed animals this way she has a piece of home with her, even when far away. This time we flew, so we couldn’t pack everything in the house, which meant I had to be a bit more choosy, but I picked a favorite doll that she sleeps with and a handful of her favorite toys.
3. Slowly introduce your child to their new surroundings
Learn from my mistakes. When we got to my parent’s house yesterday it was nap time, so we took her strait into the room we are staying in and tried to put her down for a nap. Are you kidding me? The poor kiddo was scared! She didn’t know this room, she didn’t know what was going on or where she was. She didn’t know anything, and we just expected her to fall into it and go with the flow. That was not very fair of us. She is little and doesn’t understand why she isn’t in her bedroom and her crib. No matter what age your child is, you need to slowly acclamate them to their new surroundings. This will help them feel more comfortable.
4. Don’t be too hard on your child
When we are visiting family, I want Maggie to be a perfect angel! I want her to be sweet, happy, and smiling. Why is it that I seem to always get the opposite of this? My guess is because she is out of her routine. She is grumpy, fussy, and she is a little rude because she isn’t really familiar with all of the people loving on her and wanting to hold and play with her. I tend to get on her case and even pull out some discipline when she acts like this…..and don’t get me wrong, a lot of times she needs it. However, it isn’t completely her fault. She is out of routine and out of what she knows to be normal. I need to cut her a little more slack and try explaining things to her instead of jumping strait to discipline and anger because she isn’t adjusting as quickly as I think she should.
5. Prepare, prepare, prepare
Before we headed to Florida I tried skyping quite a few times with my parents so she knew who we were going to visit. I also suggest skyping and doing a little tour of the room you will be staying in, the crib or pack-n-play she will be sleeping in, the bathtub, and any other rooms your child may frequent while you are visiting. This may help minimize the “shock” factor a bit. You can also show pictures of the people you are visiting and constantly remind them of who each person is.
Don’t worry if you have moody children on vacation- trust me, you are not alone. It’s not always easy staying on a routine while vacationing. Just remember, above everything else, to have fun- you are on vacation!