By Joss Hooren
Do you long to take your infant or toddler travelling, but find yourself hesitating because you fear how the sudden change in environment and lack of routine will impact them? The perceived stress of travelling with children and the fear of disrupting a routine are common barriers to taking that much dreamed of trip. For most children, the only requirement for optimal cognitive, psychological and physical development is a caregiver who is available to consistently meet their physiological and psychological needs. If you are able to provide for your child and offer a safe environment and relationship from which they can develop the independence to explore the world, you are the only constant they need to travel happily.
Parenting is all about adapting and responding to the needs of your child, and this is no different when you’re travelling.
My 22-month-old, Theo, is now well accustomed to life on the road, long flights and car journeys lasting multiple days. He has seen more of the world than the average toddler and has had experiences that many adults are still waiting to tick off their bucket list. Although he has demonstrated himself to be a natural traveller and he takes it all in his stride, like all children, he can get grumpy when he’s tired, overstimulated, bored or hungry (he gets ‘hangry’, just like his mummy!).
Parenting is all about adapting and responding to the needs of your child, and this is no different when you’re travelling. We remain flexible, our plans change, and we choose activities that we will all enjoy. While we’re travelling, every day is different, we regularly jump time zones, we rarely stay in one place for longer than a week, and we have absolutely no routine with regards to eating, sleeping or anything else for that matter. This lifestyle works for all of us and we all adapt easily, but I have no doubt that three elements of our parenting approach assist Theo in adjusting to the chaos of travel, and help him feel safe and secure in an ever-changing environment: breastfeeding, babywearing, and bed sharing. Remember that not every child is the same; listen to your own child’s cues and be their constant source of comfort and support.
See next pages for breastfeeding, baby wearing and bed sharing on the road!