- In this episode, Courtney dives into how to plan for a successful vacation that’s kid-friendly and won’t cause epic meltdowns from your little one being overtired, overrun or unfamiliar with their sleep space.
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Podcast Episode Transcripts:
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Welcome to the kids sleep Show podcast where we dive into the magical world of sleep, and all things parenting. Join us as we embark on a journey filled with expert advice, practical tips and heartwarming stories that will transform your little ones into sleep superheroes, and empower you to navigate the beautiful chaos of parenting. I’m your host, Courtney Zentz. And I’m on a mission to change how the world view sleep and provide accessible sleep coaching resources for all families to build healthy sleep habits in their home for children and adults of all ages. As an award winning speaker, author and pediatric sleep expert, myself and my team of consultants work intimately with families around the world to teach healthy sleep habits to children and adults. I believe wholeheartedly that sleep is the foundation for which a happy home is built. So let’s sleep together.
Hey, everyone, welcome to this week’s episode of the Kids sleep show. My name is Courtney Zentz, the founder of tiny transitions and the creator of the sleep Steps program. I’m excited to join you today to talk all about traveling with children, tips for relaxing and enjoying some family time. We just got back from the beach this weekend for Memorial Day. And it was amazing. Now it was still a little chilly here outside of Philly where we live. But it was warm enough that I could throw a sweatshirt on, the kids could run around on the beach. And both of my kids got in the water, which was insane. I did not but I enjoyed very much. That little bit of salty sea air that helps me relax and enjoy time together making amazing memories. So this week in the episode because here in the States, summer is kicking off, some kids are already out of school, I wanted to spend some time sharing with you how you can best manage to travel with children appropriately. But also set expectations so that everybody has the best time when you’re away. And I’m going to talk about this today in five different segments. Because I think it’s important to understand the planning and prep, the travel logistics, and the safety that comes along with it, making sure you manage expectations, embracing flexibility, and then also creating memorable experiences. So we’re going to cover all that today. And I’m excited for you to be here tuning in, be sure to click Subscribe if you love what we’re putting out here at the kids sleep show. And we certainly always appreciate a very kind review so that others can find us as well. So thank you for coming to listen more. And we’re going to kick things off with planning and preparation. I want to make sure that you recognize as you now have children planning a quick trip around the world is a little bit harder than it used to be right you’ve got to plan for not only things like weather differences, and how your children need to be dressed, but also time zones. And how far are you going for how long? You want to make sure that when you’re doing planning and preparation, you understand. It’s not always Disney World, which many of us love to go to. We’ve only been once but it was a lot of planning and preparation, right? But even just taking a road trip to Niagara Falls or a quick weekend trip on the train to New York, like how do you plan and prepare for whatever that destination looks like? First and foremost, my advice, research child friendly destinations, we’ve done a couple trips where it was not child friendly. And we luckily did not have our kids but others did. And it was not amazing. So make sure that when you’re looking at destinations, take your child’s feedback into consideration. We want to go to Ireland with our kids, but they’re too young to walk that much. So they just aren’t going to be able to see Ireland right now. Because we want to do it when we have the ability to hike and walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery but their 710 Like they’re not ready to do that yet. It’s the you know the way in which we travel. So we know that and we’re planning to go to Niagara Falls next year around Easter break, because we’ve never seen it. I’ve never seen Niagara Falls, they’ve obviously never seen it. My husband saw it when he was a kid. But the kids would like that it’s something we could manage through a road trip with a couple destinations, you know. So definitely make sure that you’re researching child friendly destinations. And you’re creating a flexible itinerary to make sure that you adapt to your children’s needs. If you travel with a dog, you typically have to stop to let them pee. Same is going to be the case for your kids, they’re going to be hungry, they’re going to be tired, their legs are going to hurt, they’re going to need to pee, they’re going to want to eat. So you’ve got all these different things that you need to account for in your traveling right if you’re going to be on an airplane, making sure that you’re bringing some snacks and you have entertainment and comfort items to help them right some of the planning and preparation that goes into traveling can save you on the back end not only money, but also time and frustration. My sister in law gave me something that I actually didn’t know was a thing. And when she gave it to me I’m like you know what I’m gonna hold on to this
and it has proved dividends. And I’ll tell you what it is an inflatable booster seat. So my son is nine, and my daughter is seven.
And my daughter still needs booster, you know. But like, if we’re just going to Baltimore and we’re going to take one Uber to the aquarium for five minutes, she doesn’t need this, like 50 pound thing that she’s bringing, right. And so we found an inflatable booster that we got. And it’s amazing because I can keep it in my book bag, but I can blow it up. And then it serves that purpose for traveling. And it’s easier than lugging this massive booster that you can’t fold up. And you know, this big booster that obviously wouldn’t afford us the ability to take an Uber and sometimes while you can get an Uber with a car seat, they’re not always available. So an inflatable booster seat was something I didn’t even know existed. But I’m so happy that I have it because it makes life Oh, so much easier. So planning and preparation. Where are you going? How long is it going to take to get there and then what stops are you planning to make along the way, the next you want to look at your logistics and the safety right? Ensure you have safe and comfortable travel experiences, right? It might be one of those things where you hop on to eBay and buy an American Airlines
lounge access for the day or see if one of your credit cards gives you lounge access. Then when you get to the airport, they can go fill up on snacks, they can grab a drink, they can have some comfortable downtime, and then you can make your way over to the gate right. Also looking at traveling. Like as parents were kind of cool getting on some rickety bus to go see a thing the kids might not be right. So make sure that you’re setting up the right travel, transportation, depending on your location, and also make sure that that transportation is safe. Okay, make the transportation time enjoyable for kids. My love for sticker books is beyond my kids get sticker books, they’re almost like sticker by number. And that will keep them busy for hours and hours, it seems so having some things that based on however old your child is that are age appropriate, when electronics might not always be appropriate. Or frankly, you might not always have a battery. So I kind of keep a little bag in my purse now that has a couple crayons, a couple different coloring books. We have rainbow looms, we do stickers, you know all that kind of stuff. That’s kind of always accessible for the kids. So if they need something, and we’re on these long bus trips from one place to the next or on the train, or whatever it might be, they can stay engaged. It’s also a nice thing like wine downtime. If you have multiple children. Sometimes it can be hard to like, I gotta get one down and the other one wants me and we’re not in a situation where the other one can have me right now. And you know, so sometimes having that little backup of busy kit, if you will, can be helpful. You also want to make sure safety wise that you’re looking at the logistics around how old your kid is, what they weigh, and what the carseat requirements are, as I already discussed a little bit based on the city that you’re in, based on the country that you’re in, and also the child proofing accommodations, right if you’re staying at a VRBO and your child is sleeping in a big kid bed, and they might have really nice furniture that also isn’t secured to the walls and your kids a climber you might want to make sure you pay attention to that or have some sort of a accommodation in place so that your kid doesn’t climb the dresser and have it topple on top of them. Are there baby gates, you know, there’s companies like baby quip, Q UIP. So baby quip will come and bring you the equipment if you will, that you need for the location you’re staying. So if you need a slumber pod, or you need a pack and play or a crib, they’ll deliver it right to your location. Things like toys, like don’t lug seven suitcases of stuff, have it delivered and make it much easier on yourself. And that’s going to come in not only to logistics and safety, but all planning and preparation kind of situations as well. So make sure you’re taking a look at that. The next is managing your expectations. Because frankly, like I used to be like a super type a planning pants and want to know everything that was going on. We went to Disney World last year and the hurricane came so we had to leave a day early, which was fine. We actually plowed through the whole Disney World in three days.
And we had a great time, but we had no expectations going in. We bought our fast passes. My girlfriend helped us book some stuff in the morning and we literally showed up at Disney going alright, well let’s see what the shortest line is. Let’s see where we want to start, right. Like we didn’t go into it with this like massive bucket list because then you’re left with disappointment. It was the most beautiful vacation we’ve ever had. We had so much fun. And we didn’t really plan a ton like we kind of knew like what parks we were doing each day because of the fast passes and what rides the kids like really, really wanted to go on. But like we didn’t know I hadn’t been there since I was a kid and
Same with my husband. But we managed the flexibility and we managed the expectations and the behaviors, we didn’t raise our voice once for like the whole time we were there, we would do some things in the morning, we’d go back to the pool, we would chill around the hotel, we’d go back to the park, like, we just sort of knew that this was the first time we were going away with kids. And we had to have realistic expectations of what they were able to do. And we had our kids involved in the process, like, Alright, guys, if you want to do X, or Y, which do you want to do, and then we’ll try to get back and do the other one later. But, you know, we got to see how the day evolves. And, you know, so having my kids involved in the process also made it helpful to minimize any behavioral issues that we had during travel, I typically am someone who prints out a gumball machine that is empty. And as my kids are, like, well behaved, or they use kind words to each other, like without prompting, I will color in a bowl in the gumball machine. And if at the end of the trip, they’ve had a really good you know, a couple of days, however long the duration, they’ll get to pick something special out. So it’s like a little bit of motivation for them. I do it with them with sports too. Like they both play pretty rigorous sports. And yet, you know, they want to do what they love doing it, we’re not forcing them. But sometimes they complain and I’m like, I don’t want to hear the complaining, you made the choice to play this. So I use the gumball technique with them. I’m like, if you guys can fill this gumball machine, every time you ever practice without complaining, you can pretty quickly fill it up and then we’ll do something fun. Like we’ll go for ice cream or something, you know. So making sure that you’re kind of managing the expectations of behavior based on their age to shouldn’t keep a two year old up till 2am. Okay, they don’t want to be up. I see this all the time at the Jersey Shore, we’ll go over to dinner in Atlantic City and you know, kind of have like what I would consider a late night for us, which is like 10 o’clock. And walking back to the car going to grab an Uber outside, I see like kids that are two years old, at 10 o’clock, with parents like in a casino or out on the boardwalk. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, and I try not to be judgmental, but at the same time, like how do you not when you’re, you got like a one year old up at 10 o’clock at night, you know, on the boardwalk. It’s like, oh my gosh, like manage expectations, like you’re not going to be able to do that stuff, you have a one year old and they need to sleep because if they don’t, your night’s gonna be a mess. And then all day tomorrow is gonna be a mess. And you’re gonna have to have more downtime than you scheduled. Which brings me to the next part of this scheduled downtime, embrace flexibility, okay, I encourage you to embrace the flexibility that you have, because it’s vacation, right schedule breaks, scheduled downtime, if you need to use it great, you have it if you don’t, then you can skip it. But at least you’re not going Oh, we didn’t really think we couldn’t bring a four year old to Disney for 12 hours straight and expect them to just crowbar through rides or drive for 16 hours from San Diego to Chicago or whatever. Right? Like, you’ve got to kind of balance what your kids are going to be capable of. And then like when it is that you’re going to be planning to do those things and try to weave in some restorative moments, some time chillin by the pool or sleeping in or just having a little bit of a lazy day. You know, we were very big on like trying to balance like crowbar and stuff in but also being okay with just the fact that like kids are going to be tired and we sort of recognize, okay, like, what can we do? That’s fun. That might be a little less strenuous. That day, maybe it’s a guided tour. Or maybe that’s the day you’re like at the museum or something right? Maybe that’s the day you’re on the beach and you’re just chillin. So trying to create that flexibility and downtime, also making sure that kids are napping, right? If you have a baby in tow, they got to sleep and I will tell you, an overtired baby will wake multiple times at night, almost guaranteed. Okay, so however you got to manage a nap, whether it’s them comatose, on your shoulder, you rockin them, walking around with them, taking a step away with a slumber pod and popping them in that thing inside of a pack and play and letting them take a snooze, like manage for things like that. Because especially babies are so sensitive to being awake too long. They need that downtime to really reset and kind of decompress, okay, and then finally, create memories. Don’t plan yourself out so much, that you’re so stressed. And you’re so overwhelmed that you can’t even enjoy yourself or create any sort of memorable experiences. You want to try to find, again, those age appropriate attractions which obviously if you’re planning to go on vacation there, you’re going to know what’s age appropriate. Okay, but just try to enjoy the moment that you’re in. You know, as I’m recording this, I just had a conversation with somebody on my team whose daughter is homesick again. Her son was home last week and her other son was home the week before she’s like I’m losing my mind. These kids are just constantly sick. They can’t go to school they got strap or hand foot mouth
Like, what can you control? Right? What can you control? And you can’t control. They’re sick, they can’t control. They’re sick. So you know what you do. You say, I’m not getting anything done today, and you cuddle up on the couch, and you watch a movie with her. And then when your husband gets home from work, you get your work done later tonight, that’s the best you can do in managing expectations, right? It’s kind of the same with vacation, like create the memorable experiences. And in that situation, I was like, dude, just cuddle on the couch and call it a day, like you’re just going to stress out about something you can’t control. So it’s the same with vacation, right? Try to have fun, try to do different things. Don’t stress about sleep, not being perfect, okay? It’s not going to be perfect. Get them sleep, try not to create bad habits. Don’t get them overtired. Try to balance naps in the day, right? There are things that you can do as a parent to really try to manage vacation with a positive mindset. But you have to take into account all the ages and stages that you’re traveling with. And make sure that you’re creating a plan that fits for everyone. You know, one of the things we like to do in our house is divide and conquer as far as like what things you want to do. So each person gets to say, I want to do this one thing. Usually for my daughter involves the arcade and or a piece of candy. My son likes to play sports. My husband is big into history. And for me, I’m like a beach girl. So whenever we’re going on vacation, we always try to figure out like, Okay, if it’s not the beach, can we do the pool? If it’s, you know, not candy, can we get ice cream or something you know, so everybody kind of feels like their cup is getting filled. And you know, just make it a memorable and fun time manage time zones. If you’re not going away for somewhere like more than a week, adjusting to his time, timezone is really hard, because you’re going to typically have to adjust then coming back, going east over, you know, overseas, like I have clients that will leave Philly and go to England, like the kids actually adjust pretty well going that direction, it’s coming home that, you know, you generally have to deal with the jetlag a little bit. But it’s just part of traveling, you know, and if you’re not prepared to deal with it, then don’t go to England. So, you know, some of it is just managing your own expectations, like you do have kids now that you have to take into consideration, like we know we want to go to Ireland, as I mentioned, we’re just not going yet. Right? My kids want to go to Hawaii. I’m like, you can’t handle a 12 hour plane ride. Are you Hi, we can barely go to the beach. Without somebody asking, Are we there yet? After an hour and a half? So yes, we want to do Hawaii? No, we’re not going now. So I told my daughter for her 16th birthday, maybe we would go as a family to Hawaii, but we’ll see if she remembers that. So, you know, just ask us questions. We’re always here to help. We have a free Facebook community called slumber made simple. You can pop out to our Instagram at Tiny transitions, you can shoot me an email. It’s Courtney at Tiny transitions.com We have free calls, there’s a million ways to connect with me to connect with any of the members of my team. And to get help that you might need. For questions that you might have. We’ve got a great travel checklist out on our website. I mean, we’ve just got a ton of content. And you know, we want you to have a really enjoyable vacation. But at the same time, you know, have some realistic expectations about just the kids. You’re traveling with the ages and stages and making sure that you’re setting everybody up for success. So be sure to click subscribe. Thanks so much for tuning in this week. I hope you are gearing up for a beautiful summer. With lots of fun vacation and trips planned. We have one we’re going to Nashville. And so I’ll let you know how that works out. I know they’ll definitely be some live music and a cold beer in one of those situations. But other than that we’ve got Irish dance national championships, which we’re going to for my daughter, who is seven and so we’re going to wish her luck and enjoy a little bit of Nashville because we have never been there. So that’ll be a family bucket list thing that we check off. But anyway, enjoy the day. Thanks so much for tuning in. And we’ll see you soon. Bye for now.
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