How do you survive a family wedding with kids? Traveling knocks you out of your routine, which is good and bad. You get the excitement of exploring new places and being away from your daily responsibilities. With kids, changing routine can cause a lot of distress. Here’s how to travel to a wedding and keep at least a tiny sliver of your sanity.
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Bring new age-appropriate toys
My local grocery store has a section of novelty toy items, such as silly putty, punch balloons, toy soldiers, and others. For our toddlers, we chose colorful ninja toys that were on sale for $1.50. These are not appropriate for younger children because pieces break off (you can see that some of the “weapons” on ours are missing). We checked out our local thrift store for small new-to-us toys we could take along. We also found some little heroes super heroes on sale that kept their attention. Additional child entertainment ideas here (no tech) and here !
We bought tablets for trips only. A friend told me she rents tablets from her local library and they don’t have an additional charge! This is an excellent option if buying them is out of your travel budget. If you don’t allow screen and game time for your kids, consider having travel time be your one exception. If not, bring even more of their favorite activities, such as markers and paper, books, cheap novelty toys, etc. Post-it notes made their way into our room and became “bricks” that kids stuck to the wall. It was only a little bit of a mess to clean up and it kept them entertained for awhile.
Keep naps on schedule.
Babywear, go for a car ride, or push a stroller around. Car naps are a consistent thing for us and they worked well for our family wedding. Allow older children to have some downtime, too.
Go to the hotel pool.
If there isn’t a pool or your children don’t enjoy swimming, find local parks and playgrounds. Let your kids blow off some steam and say “no” as little as possible during that time.
Bring a Noise machine
I used a noise machine app for nighttime and naptime use. Download a noise machine app before you leave and learn how to use it. I didn’t hear any loud noises coming from outside the room while it was running.
Wear Your patience pants (or skirt, shorts, shoes, etc)
Kids get wound up in new circumstances and may take awhile to adjust. You know your child(ren). Meltdowns are inevitable under normal circumstances and traveling to family functions with a lot of adult activities are extraordinary experiences. Expect meltdowns. Expect them to balk at hugging great Aunt Hilda, whom they’ve never met. Allow them to say no to hugs and kisses they don’t want. A good alternative is waving. If the adult acts offended, that’s the adult’s problem. Not yours and certainly not your child’s. This goes for children of any age.
Traveling with children certainly changes the way you travel. Even when you give 100%, it doesn’t mean that your child won’t have a difficult time. Meltdowns aren’t a reflection of you or your parenting. They are a result of big emotions and tough circumstances. It will be exhausting. You’ll still have half conversations and be running around after your kids during the events. Hopefully, these tips will help you find some down time!