Holiday time with toddlers

Family holidays are where lasting memories are made. The beach becomes one big sandpit with a never ending supply of water – toddler paradise! But going on holiday with a toddler can be exhausting. To avoid disappointment, it helps to redefine your expectations – your holiday may not include hours spent sun bathing and reading books.  Planning ahead will help you create a holiday that both you and your toddler will enjoy. Here are some great ideas to get you started:

Before the trip

  • Write a list and pack ahead of time so you don’t forget anything. Last minute, mad scramble packing can leave you exhausted before your holiday begins.
  • Take the familiar to the unfamiliar. Set up a home away from home using some of their toys and bedding. Make your toddler part of the packing process by allowing them to choose some special books and toys that they want to take with them.
  • Plan meals that your toddler will want to eat.
  • Go away with friends and family to help share the load and give you a chance to have some sleep-ins and kid-free time. Accidents can happen when we get distracted and assume that someone else is watching our toddler. By taking turns and allocating someone to watch your toddler at certain times of the day, you will have someone to keep them safe and entertained.


  • Travelling during your toddler’s sleep times will ensure you have a quieter, calmer trip.
  • If they do wake, have some stops along the way to visit parks or playgrounds for a picnic – a chance to let off some energy.
  • If you have a child wearing underwear, place a waterproof insert into the carseat in case of accidents and have spare clothes within easy reach.
  • Have a sipper bottle and snacks within arms reach.
  • Pack an ice cream container, wipes and a plastic bag in case of queezy tummies.

On holiday

  • Give your toddler time to settle in an unfamiliar bed. By basing yourself in one place for several days or weeks, your toddler will get used to their new surroundings and be more likely to go to bed and stay there.
  • If your holiday includes lots of time spent outside, dress your toddler in quick drying clothing to minimise drying time and the need to keep changing outfits.
  • Get them into the habit of wearing a hat whenever they are outside.
  • Make application of sunscreen a ritual. When the novelty has worn off, make it fun by getting them involved and drawing sunscreen pictures on their skin, then smudging them away.
  • Feed your child at their normal meal times. This may mean providing a kid friendly dinner earlier in the day.
  • Avoid letting them get over tired by ensuring they go to bed earlier, especially if they are rising early. Have some quiet activities for your early riser so people you are staying with do not get woken up by your toddler.

Don’t forget it’s your holiday too – so plan something that you would love to do each day and make it happen!