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Traveling with Your Baby

You can make a holiday visit much more pleasant for yourself, your baby, and your hosts or guests by taking a moment to go over this list, which represents a broad range of ideas for venturing out with infants through toddlers.

General Tips
  • Keep extra diapers, a change of clothes and some snacks in your car at all times.

  • Take toys and a blanket that your baby is familiar with.

  • For longer trips, take a new toy to hold your baby's interest.

  • Attach toys to the car seat or stroller with plastic chains (never ropes or string) so the child can retrieve toys themselves.

  • Play music that is soothing or that your baby will enjoy while on the road.

  • Pack familiar foods and snacks that your baby enjoys.

  • If you put bottles or baby food in the refrigerator where you're visiting, place the car keys in with them. You will be reminded of those items when you can't find your car keys.

  • The more relaxed and comfortable you are in the surroundings you're visiting, the more comfortable your baby will be with the whole idea. They can sense if you are on edge and act or act out accordingly.

Guests in your home
  • Depending upon the age of your child, you may want to prepare them for visitors in advance by talking with them about what is going to happen during the visit. Show photographs of visitors or let them talk to your guests on the phone before they arrive.

  • Don't force socialization if your baby is uncomfortable or behaving shyly. Take cues from your child. Allow your child some time to get used to visitors before assuming your baby wishes to be held by them. Explain to your guest that the baby may need a little time to feel comfortable.

  • Place guests' handbags up high and out of reach.

  • Give guests a quick rundown of your baby's activity level (what your baby can do and can't do) so they may help watch for potential hazards. It's easy to get distracted while entertaining so extra eyes are always welcomed.

  • Allow your toddler to select the toys they wish share with visiting children. Select shared toys ahead of time and then put all others where they are inaccessible to young guests. This keeps the room mess to a minimum, causes fewer territorial squabbles and in the end your child will feel less invaded and more willing to share during the next visit. Children need to become comfortable with the idea of another child "playing with" their toy, that it doesn't mean that they will "take home" their toy. Allow for the difficulty many children have with the concept of sharing.

  • Compliment your child for sharing toys with other children. (Even if it didn't go perfectly.) It's a skill that must be learned. Begin the practice of praise early on and do it often. Positive reinforcement will encourage sharing.

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