When you think "vacation," do you think "summer"? Maybe it's time to think "fall" instead!
Fall is a wonderful time to travel, especially if you have young children. The weather is cooler, the foliage is lovely, and attractions will be less crowded because families with older kids aren't likely to take their kids out of school to travel so early in the school year.
But parenting is hard enough at home! How can you take this show on the road without losing your mind? Traveling with toddlers, especially, can really be a trip. Here are some feeding tips that Mommy M.D.s — doctors who are also mothers — use to travel with their children.
"When my children were toddlers, I quickly learned that you can't bring it all with you from home when you travel," said Ann Arthur, M.D. Arthur is a mom of two, a blogger at https://WaterWineTravel.com and a pediatric ophthalmologist in private practice at Park Slope Eye Care Associates in New York City. "Fortunately, many clever companies rent kids' equipment, such as portable cribs and strollers, when you arrive at your destination. This saved me from lugging tons of gear through airports."
"When I traveled with my sons when they were toddlers, I dressed them in matching clothes, usually brightly colored shirts that we purchased on a previous trip," said Carrie Brown, M.D., a mom of two and a general pediatrician who treats medically complex children and specializes in palliative care at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock. "This helps for many reasons. One, when my sons were dressed alike, it was obvious that they belonged together. Two, dressing them alike made it much easier to spot them in a crowd. And three, it would have been easy to describe one child to someone if need be. I could point to his brother and say, 'He's dressed like that!' Thankfully, I never lost a child, so I didn't have to test this theory."
"When my kids were toddlers, we went on an annual summer beach vacation with their cousins," said Eva Mayer, M.D., a mom of two and pediatrician with St. Luke's Coopersburg Pediatrics in Pennsylvania. "With so many other people along with their own needs and wishes, it often felt like our family's needs went out the window. We rented a pretty small house at the beach, considering all of the people we jammed into it. It was very challenging to carve out our own space. Early on, I learned to say, 'This is what we need to do for our family.' Also, if we needed some space, I would grab my kids and head out for a walk on the beach by ourselves."
Dr. Rallie's Tips
With a teenager and two toddlers, my husband and I didn't have the courage to travel very far or very often. It was just too exhausting! When we did travel, we made sure that we were well prepared in advance. One of our first big trips by plane was to Walt Disney World, and I took an extra day of vacation just to pack and plan for the trip. In addition to clothes, shoes, favorite toys and lovies, I made sure to stock a lightweight travel bag with all of the things that we would need to keep us as healthy as possible while we were traveling, including the following items:
— A zipper-lock baggie for each person's toothbrush and toothpaste. It's best to have a small tube of toothpaste for each family member. If you don't share toothpaste, you're less likely to share germs.
— Small packets of honey from a fast-food restaurant: Honey has antibiotic properties, and it's a great remedy for coughs for toddlers and older children.
— A disposable ice bag for bumps and bruises.
— Healthy snacks, such as raisins or granola bars, in single-serving size packs.
— Sugarless chewing gum to ease ear discomfort on the airplane.
— Tylenol and Benadryl and the dosage cups.
— Band-Aids and antibiotic ointment.
— Hand sanitizer and wipes to clean the tables and everyone's hands before eating at a restaurant.
— Rallie McAllister, M.D., M.P.H., mom of three, nationally recognized health expert and family physician in Lexington, Kentucky
Mommy M.D. Guide-Recommended Product: Queasy Pops
Few things can derail a trip quicker than an upset belly. An easy, natural remedy you can toss into your travel bag is a bag of Queasy Pops. Made by the same company that makes Preggie Pops, these lollipops are drug-free and contain natural flavors such as peppermint, lemon and ginger. You can buy them at stores like Walmart for around $3 for a box of 7.
Jennifer Bright is a mom of four, co-founder and CEO of Momosa Publishing and co-author of "The Mommy MD Guide to the Toddler Years." She lives in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. To find out more about Jennifer Bright and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.
Photo credit: marvel68 at Pixabay