We recently went on one of our first real vacations with Ryan. We've taken weekend trips and have even gone to Disney World, but this was the first trip with an active, walking Ryan to a destination that was intended to provide an opportunity for rest and relaxation. I have to be honest with you—vacationing with a child is a whole new adventure. Even Ryan, who is the sweetest, easygoing child, demands nonstop attention, and it puts a whole new spin on the concept of time off.
For me parenting is an ongoing discovery process, and I'm sure I will never stop learning the best ways to fulfill the needs of the individuals in our family. But at the very least, here are some things I learned during our time away:
- Downtime is critical
- Sleep or rest when the toddler sleeps
- Don't force them into your schedule, but instead plan around their schedule
- Be flexible: does the toddler seems especially tired? Take a break and go back to the hotel so they can get some rest
- Give them freedom: does the toddler seem especially energetic? Go for a walk and let them run around
- Keep snacks close by and order food in restaurants that is easy for them to eat
- Give your partner a break and take turns
For those of you not traveling with toddlers, thank you for your patience and compassion and generosity. Thank you for offering Ryan toys and books so he can entertain himself, thank you for helping with my bag and stroller, and thank you for cheering Ry on when he decides to put on an impromptu dance performance. I promise, we're doing our best to make this as painless as possible, in the airport and on the airplane, in restaurants and stores, and generally, in all public places. Your smiles and encouragement lighten my spirit in indescribable ways.