I have to come clean. As the launch of Little Traveler Toys approaches I am compelled to confess that I often dread family travel days. There, I said it. Now, don't get me wrong, I love my kids more than air, but taking them on a trip that is more than 5 hours away stresses me out, like, big time.
Just thinking about taking a family trip makes my back and chest tighten, anxiety starts to creep in. “Relax” I say to myself, “you have no more trips planned for the summer. All is well.” Queue sigh of relief- ahhh.
You see, we just got back from a 10 day family trip to Hawaii where we stayed in a tiny house right on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. My husband and I have stayed in this tiny little guest house a few times before, all pre-kids. This was our first trip back with our 2 kids (and my in-laws) and let’s just say our experience was a little different.
Passing the time in Dallas while our flight was delayed
We live in the Midwest and flew to Hawaii through Dallas. Our 3 year old daughter, Claire, did really well on both flights (no tantrums). My husband took charge of managing her needs (helping her with her TV and finding dropped puzzle pieces and markers every few minutes). I was on the other side with our 1 year old, Wyatt, in my lap who napped for 45 minutes total during during the 10.5 hours we were in the air. The rest of the time was spent trying to find adequate compromises to make up for the fact that he can’t crawl around the airplane.
After walking him up and down the aisles a few times I pulled up the flight map and saw that we still had 5.5 hours left on the flight. FIVE AND A HALF HOURS!! I thought to myself “what in the hell were we thinking? Never. Again.” I finally caved and put Ferdinand on and we watched it twice, in silence. Screen time rules be damned.
Wyatt, 1, mid-yawn watching Ferdinand on flight from Dallas to Hawaii
Once we arrived we tried to keep the kids up for as long as possible. The time change (-6 hours) was a big hurdle to overcome. Those first 4-5 days Claire would wake up at 2 AM screaming that it was too dark, which would wake up Wyatt and both would need a diaper change, a snack, and a song to calm down again and sleep until 5 AM. Then we would all get up and try to get on a normal schedule again.
Being away from the comforts of home and regular napping/eating/sleeping schedule is tough when your kids are this young. It is not relaxing. Nobody gets to lounge on the beach all day and read a book. You just take turns managing the chaos until (fingers crossed) both kids nap at the same time so you can stare at the ocean, soak up some rays, and at least come back home looking like you had a restful vacation. After all, nobody wants to hear you complain about your trip to Hawaii.
Iced coffee at nap time
Of course there were good times. I loved sharing my love of the ocean with my kids, jumping up and down in the waves and laughing together, building sand castles and hunting for crabs and sea shells along the beach. Wyatt was like a baby sea turtle we would put in the sand and he would make a beeline straight for the ocean. I took a long walk with him in the baby carrier and he fell asleep on my chest listening to the sound of the waves; it was heaven.
Making sand pancakes together
All of these are cherished moments and fond memories we will have forever. They’re what makes all of the stress worth it in the end and the reason we’ll continue to travel with our kids. So I want you to know that if traveling with your kids stresses you out too, you are not alone!
Little Traveler Toys was born from my need to make travel time with my own kids easier. I just want them to have everything they need handy so that I can relax for a minute. And I want that for you too!
I want you to pull out their little backpacks that are already filled with their favorite things, hand it to them, and order yourself a mimosa.
I want you to feel prepared, organized, and relaxed even if nothing else goes as planned.
It is my sincere hope that our toys make your trip better. I want to create a space where you can come and get all of the resources, tips, tricks, checklists, and travel toys you need in a one-stop shop.
We are a small line right now, so I will do my best to help you fill in the missing pieces until we can provide you and your kids with everything you need to have an awesome family trip in the air and on the road.
So stick with us and join our mailing list to be the first to know when the shop opens and get full access to free downloads! And remember - you’ve got this. We have been there and we are here for you, Mama!