What to put in your suitcase and how to make the most of your time away with a little one.
August is a hot vacation time … it’s the final hurrah of summer before the busyness of back-to-school hits. If your baby is under a year old and you’re planning your first family vacation, here are a few things to keep in mind to make your experience as restful and enjoyable as possible.
Before you leave …
Planning ahead is the best way to avoid forgetting anything important. Your holidays will be 10 times more enjoyable if you pack well. Consider possible scenarios and plan accordingly: bring a replacement blankie in case the favorite one gets lost; prepare for the possibility of molars erupting by packing something soothing, etc.
Even if your little one is preverbal, she understands a lot and will immediately perceive the change of environment: different routine, new surroundings, unfamiliar people … Explain to her that you’re going on vacation, that you’ll be living in another house, and that she’ll be meeting new people. She may not comprehend what you’re saying, but anticipating the changes will help her feel more secure, which makes for a smoother transition.
If you’re flying, don’t forget your child’s identification document. If you are traveling internationally, besides getting a passport for your baby, check with your doctor about any recommended vaccinations.
Before closing your suitcase, go through your list one last time. Do you have the essentials for your child’s meals, washing, dressing, and bedtime? A few things that can be easily forgotten but are very useful: sunscreen, hat, thermometer, medicine, health card.
While traveling …
Seasoned parents agree that planning a post-meal departure is best. Once your child has eaten, you can take advantage of the quiet time to get on the road. If you’re going to the mountains, note that it’s recommended not to exceed an altitude of 5,000 feet with a child under a year of age. Above that, your baby might become agitated and have trouble sleeping. It’s also recommended to make stops during the ascent. Offer your baby a drink, as swallowing will help ease pressure on her eardrums.
Pack a small travel bag with a few important items: diapers, wipes, bottle, bib, blanket, sweater, pacifier, snacks, and anything else you think your child might need en route.
On vacation …
You’ve successfully arrived at your destination; now it’s time to relax and enjoy your holiday! If you’re a working parent, you may ordinarily only see your baby for a few hours a day. On holidays, you’ll have much more time to watch her grow, interact with her, and share new experiences. Enjoy these precious moments!
Children thrive on family vacations, where they are able to play and learn with their parents in a relaxed environment. Holidays offer you as a parent a privileged time to connect with your child and introduce her to new environments and experiences. You’ll surely find that your child will grow not only in inches but in autonomy. The change of scenery and routine will provide your child with opportunities to improve her skills, master new ones, and develop her budding personality.