We’ve just got back from a fantastic midweek break to Center Parcs, Longleat. I’ve been before a couple of times, but it was lovely going with Molly! My family also came along, but we stayed in separate lodges. It was great to go somewhere where you can literally feel stress and tension just melt away in an abundance of stunning scenery and nature. The air felt so fresh and clean and it felt as though our accommodation just blended in amongst the nature. Molly absolutely loved watching the wildlife in the forest.
Before going away, I was slightly apprehensive about how the journey would go with a very active, teething and impatient toddler! Molly, like most toddlers and babies, likes her routine and usual nap times. I knew the consequences of disrupting this would be pretty savage (for me). Everyone else always says, “oh don’t worry, you can’t focus your day around a toddler or baby”. My internal response to that is always, “OK, when Molly is screaming her head off because she’s tired and won’t let me cook dinner etc, I’ll hand her over to you”. Of course, people don’t think about how it affects mum who also doesn’t get a full night of sleep! Nevertheless, I tried not to worry too much about nap times on holiday, but it did back-fire late afternoon!
As for the travelling, I was very fortunate to receive some fab car accessories from Little Life. They sent me an organiser which is just perfect – it holds a lot of toys, books, a cup/bottle, snacks and a tablet/ipad! I’m honestly so glad we had this. I downloaded some cbeebies programmes and films for the journey, and it was a complete life-saver for those grizzly periods! It also makes my car look a lot tidier, it’s so hard to keep a tidy car when you have a toddler!
We were also sent a mirror and some sun shades. Both of which were equally as great as the organiser! The sun shade made it a little darker too which was perfect for nap times. We have a Joie 360 car seat, so I can spin it to either front or rear facing. Whilst she’s asleep I had her rear-facing and Chris could also see her in the mirror. It’s great as it’s important to check if their head has flopped forward. However, when Molly was awake and a bit grizzly I’d have her forward facing, just so she could see the tablet.
Of course, no journey is going to be completely stress-free with a toddler, especially if they’re teething. However, all of these items from Little Life made a massive difference to our travels. Especially the organiser. I highly recommend buying this product, even for short local journeys it’s great.
My top tips for travelling with a toddler:
1. Plan the journey and check where you can stop to get out and stretch their legs.
2. Make sure you have plenty of films on your tablet or phone for them them to watch & make sure it’s fully charged!
3. Take plenty of snacks and water
4. Ensure you have plenty of toys to keep them occupied
5. Leave at the time they would usually nap so that they get a decent amount of sleep (and you get some peace)
6. Try and travel with another adult in the back if possible. I managed to distract Molly whilst Chris was driving.
7. If you’ve got a baby, they shouldn’t be kept in car seats for long stretches so remember to take them out and allow them to stretch and lay flat for a while.
8. Make sure you have a travel mug FULL of coffee!!!!
It can feel like you’re taking the whole contents of your house with you when you travel. We could barely see out the back! Just remember to pack enough spare clothes for your little ones, toddlers are messy! I realised I didn’t pack a fourth pair of Pj’s and Molly had food stains all over her other pj bottoms, so we made do with a pair of leggings on the final night! I made sure to pack extra clothes whilst we were out and about as I knew how messy food times and exploring could be! Luckily, we were also sent a beautiful little back pack and reins from Little Life. It was perfect for packing spare clothes, nappies and snacks for when we were out! It also looked unbearably cute on Molly, hehe! It’s the perfect size and she really loved having it on, so I presume it must be comfortable. It’s also great for exploring outdoors as you have the safety of the reins if you need them. It was so lovely to see Molly happy exploring nature and enjoying the great outdoors!
We had a great time away, despite a few toddler tantrums, but I put this down to a different environment and teething. It must be confusing when they wake up in a different cot and unfamiliar surroundings. I recommend taking little things that will remind them of home – teddy’s, blankets, a worn top that smells like you. Smells and objects can be really comforting for little ones. Even if they’re in the same room as you, which Molly was. She had was sleeping through the night just before we went away, but unfortunately since the holiday she’s gone back to waking up frequently throughout the night. I think it’ll just take time to get back to her normal routine again. Meanwhile, I’ll just make sure I’m drinking plenty of coffee!
If you’re planning a trip away with your little ones, remember to try and make it as easy as possible for yourself – take plenty of pre-prepared meals/packets. I always cook from scratch, but when we were away I decided to stock up on Ella’s Kitchen meal pouches and Molly loved them. The best part of being away is definitely not having to cook!!!
Have a look here for the products mentioned in this post.
*I received the products featured in this post for free, but as always all opinions are my own.