Tip #1- Stick to your routine!
Toddlers and young children thrive on predictable routines. When visiting a new place, toddlers can quickly get overstimulated by taking in all of their new surroundings. One way we can help our child adjust to this new setting is to keep their daily routine as predictable as possible. Although they may not be napping/sleeping in the same place as they do at home, knowing when to expect a nap or bedtime is crucial for a child to feel calm and grounded. Of course as adults, we sometimes like to get away to break out of routine. For a toddler this can be very disorienting. Whenever possible, try to prepare your child for a change in their routine, and explain to them what to expect when something may not happen as it usually would at home.
Tip #2- Be physically available.
Toddlers are sensory driven individuals. Being in a new place can be scary for them or even overly exciting as they take in new sights, sounds, smells, and even new climates. Try to physically connect with your child through holding them or reading a story with them in your lap. This will help them feel safe and connected to you and will help calm them, especially right before a nap or bedtime.
Tip #3- Bring along a favorite toy or two.
An easy way to help your toddler feel at ease is to bring along a favorite toy or stuffed animal. As I mentioned earlier, toddlers are very sensory individuals and will greatly benefit from squeezing and even smelling a familiar stuffed animal from home. To take it one step further, bring along your toddlers pillow and blanket from home to make naps and bedtime as familiar as possible.
Tip #4- Don’t fall into bad habits
If you recently stopped giving your toddler a pacifier at bedtime, vacation is not the time to begin allowing the pacifier again. It is so tempting to use the “quick fix” when in a new place, but allowing old habits to start up again will confuse your child and cause you more headache once you return home. Have confidence that your toddler can adapt to their new surroundings without the coping mechanism! Be aware that there may be an adjustment period for the first few nights you are in a new place. This is completely normal, and with the help of these tips, you can make the transition gracefully.
Tip #5- Be patient!
With every new experience your toddler has, there is a range of emotions and behaviors that typically come along with it. Remind yourself that your toddler is trying to adjust to a new place and try not to take these behaviors personally. Remember your toddler feels safest when they are closest to you, so extra cuddles to help regulate their little bodies may be in order. This toddler phase is temporary, but can be so rewarding if we stay attuned to the needs of our little ones!