Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sponsored Post: Traveling with Kids and Culturelle Kids!

Culturelle Kids! has sponsored this post and asked me to share my thoughts on traveling with kids this summer. Ooooh boy, do I have some experience traveling with kids this summer. This summer we did the following with our two-year-old:

1. Took five-day trip to Mackinac Island
2. Drove four hours round trip a MINIMUM of once a week, EVERY WEEK, all summer
3. Stayed with my parents for two and a half weeks

We've been on the road non-stop, and along with way I've learned some things:

1. Pack smart. Yes, this is vague, and it will mean different things to different people, AND it will take some trial and error, but when you are traveling with kids, more doesn't always mean better. I used to pack up BAGS up toys for Josephine, even for a day trip, because I wanted lots and lots of things to distract her in the case of emergency. Now, I carefully select a few key toys and books and hope for the best. 

Worst case scenario, you can always improvise, no matter where you are. For example, some of Josephine's favorite toys are my mother-in-law's measuring cups and spoons (not the ones at our house, THANK YOU VERY MUCH). Packing as light as you can get away with will help with the overall experience, especially for the person who is carrying all the bags in and out of places (right, Jeremy?)

2. Food is your friend. Speaking of packing, one thing to save room for is SNACKS. Seriously, one of the things I say all the time now is "Bring twice the snacks you think you will need. Then pack more." I cannot tell you how many times a cracker or a veggie pouch has saved my life. Also, if you have increased activity and novelty, your half pint might be hungrier than usual and prone to meltdowns that can easily be solved with a snack. 

3. Try to keep to your schedule! I know, I know, LAME, but it really makes a difference. Your vacation will likely be the time when you want to ditch naps and bedtimes to do fun activities, but the activities become MUCH less fun when you have a child in the middle of a meltdown sucking all the fun out of the room.

We struggled with this on our Mackinac trip -- one of us had to skip out on activities with the rest of the group to get Josephine to bed at night or rush through lunch to get her to nap, and while it seemed to peeve some of the people in our group, I can only assume that they would be much more peeved if Josephine had brought on the drama. Actually, I can guarantee it. 

You might miss out on a few things here and there, but the time you DO have will be so much more enjoyable.

4. Make new friends ... Yes, I told you to pack light and improvise, but if you have a long trip ahead of you, a new toy or two (even if it's just something from the dollar store) can keep your little one entertained when they are about to protest the atrocity that is driving in a car or flying in a plane. Worth every penny.

5. ... but keep the old. Sometime you need the comforts of home. If you are heading out for an overnight trip and your kid has a favorite blanket and stuffed animal to snuggle at bedtime, I would suggest they make the trip with you. Bedtime is going to be different enough in a different room, a different bed, and likely with different sounds and light levels (PRO TIP: Bring a white noise machine!), so why not let them have some things that make them feel like they are home in their very own beds.

Culturelle Kids! sponsored this post because their product is a probiotic designed to keep kids healthy. Culturelle Kids! boosts digestive health, which, we all know, boosts your overall health. A kid with a stellar immune system is the kind of kid you want when traveling, not one who is sick or suffering from digestive issues, for SURE.

Culturelle Kids! is available for "big kids" and for the littles as well, so if you are looking for a way to keep kids healthy or fix issues they might have, this is a great way to do so.

Hopefully all your travels this summer were safe and fun, and that pattern continues into the colder months!

I was compensated for this post, but all opinions expressed are my own.