Travelling by air, train or by road with a toddler can come with its fair share of adventure, excitement, and well, tantrums. Travelling can tire toddlers and preschoolers and a tired child is prone to tantrums. So, how do you deal with a travel tantrum without losing your sanity? Here are some simple, effective strategies for avoiding and overcoming tantrums during a journey.
Engage Your Toddler
A bored toddler will be whiny and fidgety. Make sure you have a ready stack of travel games, toys and music to entertain and engage your li’l travel buddy. Take out only one or two books or games at a time and provide a mix of entertainment.
Watch for Tantrum Signs
Pay attention to when your toddler is hungry, sleepy or tired and deal with it before the tantrum actually hits. Have snacks to ward off hunger pangs, a comfort object or plush toy to snuggle and sleep with and if on a road trip, take rest stops to let li’l ones stretch their legs and run around a bit.
Divert and Distract
A yelling, howling, screaming co-passenger isn’t a pleasant one. So, use the age-old but proven strategies of diverting and distracting. What works with my daughter when we’re on a road trip and she’s really crabby and a rest stop is a few miles away, is asking her to identify the colors of the cars on the highway. It takes her mind off her tantrum-y self and she’s engrossed happily till we reach the rest stop and she gets to run around and relax.
On an airplane, I usually take her for a walk in the aisle and while it isn’t the most comfortable walk, it does let her stretch her legs and distracts her from tantrum-ing.
Stay Calm Yourself
Easier said than done, but again very good at soothing an angry, crying preschooler. When I’m crabby myself and snap back at my whining li’l girl, she whines louder still. But when I’m calm and even, pleasant when distracting her or talking to her as we travel, she usually relaxes and drifts off to sleep. Some easy ways to stay calm yourself on a trip are to stay hydrated and fed, listen to some good music and focus on the destination.
Travel time with toddlers and preschoolers can be really fun and interesting. Make it as easy and happy as possible by warding off angry outbursts and temper tantrums as you head towards a holiday. If you have a baby in tow while traveling, do read Travel with Baby right here on Untrained Housewife.
Photo Credit: Abigail Batchelder