02 June 2012

Tips for Traveling With Babies and Toddlers–Part III

If you missed Part I or Part II of this series, check them out here:

Part I: Preparing for Travel

Part II: Day of Travel

and now today’s topic…

Part III: Upon Arrival

Once you arrive to your new location, it’s good to take a few precautions for wee ones.

1. Quickly baby proof your new housing, checking for hazards such as these:

A. Electrical sockets. Cover these with a strip of masking tape (which you need to have packed) if your tot is in a curious pokey socket stage. Do this when the child isn’t looking, or else she might become extra interested in what you are doing and pay extra attention to the outlets.

B. Water coolers that also have a 'hot' tap. These are common many places around the world. And they usually have a child-lock. Utilize it or ask if the 'hot' feature can please be disabled. Or move the unit to a place where the kids can’t reach it.

C. Stairs and railings and balconies that wouldn’t meet safety standards. Many aren’t safe. Take precautions.

D. Gas bottles. Propane tanks in kitchens for cooking are common in much of the rest of the world. Check their location and make necessary changes for little ones to be safe.

2. Once the place has been deemed safe, then unpack as much as you can, especially if it's three days or more. I don’t know about you, but digging through bags and piles of disorganized stuff is one quick and sure way to make me want to cry. Try to find a place for everything so you know where to find it, even if it's that all the snacks get put on the windowsill behind the curtain, all the jammies get piled on top of the stroller handles and all the toiletries get thrown in a plastic bag under the sink. If you’re like me, even this crude organization will make you feel much better.

3. Prepare the kids sleeping places as soon as you can, give them a tour and talk about what a fun and special place it is to sleep! Hopefully they have time to get used to the idea before it's time to actually go to sleep.

4. Do you what you can to relieve jet lag. There is no easy cure for jetlag, I’m sorry to say. But one thing you can do is slowly adjust the kids’ bedtime accordingly and limit the length of daytime naps. For example, when we leave North America and arrive in Africa, we begin with a midnight bedtime. If they do okay, then the next night we’ll try 11pm. Then 10pm, etc. This has really helped them adjust to the time change, but only if we only allow them a short nap in the early afternoon. If they take a long nap then it might blow the whole plan! This doesn’t always work, but it’s worth a try.

What about adults? I have one sole tip for adults overcoming jetlag. Have an excellent novel to read! In our family, I struggle the most with jetlag. I can lay in bed till 4am getting super frustrated and angry with myself for not sleeping while everyone else is in the middle of their REM sleep cycles! BUT this most recent time I had saved the second and third books of the Hunger Games Trilogy to read and I almost enjoyed suffering (oxymoron maybe?) from jet lag. The books were SO good that I didn’t mind that my body didn’t feel tired when the time came to sleep. I just read and read, got tired eyes and then eventually slept several hours later. And I looked forward to the next night when I could read and read again if sleep would not come. Of course this plan does usually cause a bit of daytime tiredness and it didn’t actually help the jet lag go away, it just made the adjustment period less torturous. Anyway, it really helped me, maybe it’ll help you too.

                          Read the conclusion of this blog series here…

                          Part IV: Favorite Products and Websites

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