So my kids are almost 4 and almost 2.
You might say wao, how can she do it, two small kids. Well, I don’t really know how am I doing it but as far as it goes, is OK! not perfect but ok.
First thing of a lot I can think of…
Traveling with kids is traveling for them. Yes, vacation is way over. I don’t have time even to take showers sometimes. Is all about them. We are always planning things for them, why not? what the case ? if they enjoy them we will enjoy, and definitely is another way of traveling. We had done some travel before the kids and yes is OK to plan for them is not a big seal, I planned to do my visits around and them we do their stop, but they are ok with it also. So what we do is every time we arrive somewhere we find out where are the parks, the kids areas, the puppets shows, the ice cream machine next to a carousel. Is like that. So far we are managing well, I know it might sound stupid to plan for the kids but the kids are our life, they are what we wish for, they are what we are so at the end we do whatever we what with a twist!
My kids are changing so are plans. Yes, one day my daughter started to cry like crazy in the car for like 20 min, we where going nuts. We change the plan. Definitely she was having a hard time I don’t know with what but we had to do something. We didn’t enjoy those 20 min close in a car with a little girl crying out loud, but we didn’t have any choice but to change plans. The other time it was Marcel, he is almost 4 but he likes some days to walk some other he doesn’t makes an effort at all. So yes, I am tired of having 2 stroller with me all the time but there is no option, so that day he got angry we couldn’t carry him and we didn’t bring his stroller well… we stop in a park, and ended our day in a park goofing around until he got his temper back. Yes, the days are not written in stones, you have to always have a plan B (parks, ice cream, etc)
Make short routes (cars, kid attached to a seat). We had manage for the time being to always have a stop every 2 or 4 hours. Most of the time when we arrive to the limit 4 hours, they get really angry and not happy moments comes after that. We made a lot of stops on the way but definitely made our route suitable for us also. in France you have spaces everywhere where you can stop can picnics or just to have some coffee and rest. Do it! believe me is the best thing, cars are cool when kids are sleeping but when they are not and you ran out of games to try in the car is even longer.
Cookies in a bag. obviously!!! having always cookies had save my life. Nina is always hungry like cookie monster she can be eating all the time. So definitely to keep her quite and make an extra hour on the route is always a plus!
cookies in a bag means also, to have a lot of little stuff like coloring books and dinosaurs in your purse!!! I know you had probably read all this in all the blogs around but is true, even if it is a rock you find on the way out in your purse and paint it with lip gloss and voila you’ll have some 10 mins of more entertainment.
Nina with almost 2 she likes to put things in place, so I found out she loved to little pieces into something like an empty bottle…another great idea on the road!
Marcel, with 4 he will love just make fun of his sister, and she wasn’t always amuse :(, they always star with some fun but a the end there is always a fight over something.
When traveling with siblings. when you buy something for one them have to buy another for the other one. I know it sounds obvious but is not always taken as a must. My daughter had an umbrella as a gift from a friend….the worst thing that could ever happen, we had a fight over the umbrella every 20 mins. then I wanted to through it away but them I have always something to teach my children is sharing and belongings…but really in a trip you don’t want to be a freaking judge and be lecturing kids every 20 mins, sooo the umbrella is still there I hide it once in a while…but every times shows up…a fight is there to rule the system!
Food. Is not alway fun. I happen to have two amazing eaters. BUT, somethings this two hate the things yesterday (meaning really yesterday) used to love. Of course the will always love Nutella I don’t know why, but they always do. Like one day we stopped in a friend’s house that happen to have rice for dinner. My kids living in the DR, love rice. But that day they didn’t want to eat it at all. So, yes it was not fun at all to see this picture perfect scenario…and the best part is that when Marcel doesn’t want something them Nina doesn’t want neither….et voila another cool dinner.
Them I have to humble myself and say that they are really prepared for a lot being just 4 and 2 . Their father is the chef, he love to cook for them and I think they find love in food because of him. I explain is not always fun because of the changes they go thru during the day and probably is because they are tired and want to make a drama out of it, but yes another thing to consider, always have a piece of bread under your arm just in case they don’t want to eat what they are offer. And yes pizza is always an alternative, don’t worry about if they are getting their amount of whatever think instead they are eating something, and that’s far good than nothing at all!
monster in beds. Sleeping every two or three days in different places makes you wonder if it is difficult for you probably it is for the kids also. Marcel, happen to started to be afraid of monsters. He will be negotiating with you until the end just because he doesn’t want to tel you he thinks there are monsters in the room. Well, myself sometimes find that the curtains looks weird, well yes a 4 yo is getting the same sensation…every time we change places, nothing that can’t be solved with being next to him until he falls asleep, of course that takes away probably 1 hour and then you are just sleeping with him just until the next day…there goes grown up time!!!! Yes, monsters are alive!
Hide technologies. I have to say tat some of my friends will be against this one. Some say I am way to hippie, some might say you can’t hide your kids from technologies is their generation. Both approach are right. But as we moved around, I had notice that every time I let my 4 yo. use my iPad he missed a lot of things happening around. The last time that happened I did opened my eyes to this issue. We where passing around some cows and it was amazing the colors of the sky, the cows themselves, the whole scenario was really beautiful, but my kid was into the screen so he didn’t get to see it, them we where telling him how amazing it was and he was mad he didn’t saw it, but it was really fast.
Yes I do know is his generation, but I do believe he misses not the cows, a lot happening around when he is connected to a screen. so we definitely limit the iPad to just maybe for a film or when we are at friends houses that doesn’t have kids (it was the best solution, believe me) and maybe some rainy day other than that he is not allow. People he is only 4 yo. he doesn’t need that, he can sing with us, we can talk about dinosaurs, we can jump, we can open presents, we can make silly faces, we can even play with him…and we are not on a screen!!!!
Nina doesn’t care… yet! but when she gets the chance she can be very manipulative with the iPad also!
The clothes. Yes, don’t forget the clothes…but not all of them! I being from the Caribbean, don’t control at all the climate thing around this european country’s, so I had a hard time learning what to bring in our trip. This journey por France, was my learning point (until we get to the big ones Germany and Noruega in September)
Summer clothes is a joke, because is not summer for me! summer is always sunny here we had found some rainy very grey days and the best super cool! (meaning for a summer 15 degrees is cool for summer clothes) so I now can write down the essentials:
Marcel 4 yo…2 jeans (or long pants are ok) at least 1 jean.
5 to 7 t-shirts for Marcel is enough. 5 or 7 underwear, one very cozy jacket with hood, at least one long sleeve shirt. 2 or 3 pajamas being at least one long sleeves and long pant. 5 or 7 pair of socks. A rain coat, 2 pairs of sneakers, one pair of sandals. and 4 short pants. This will do the trip perfectly for a boy. Ah is always nice to have at least a combo of a nice outfit just in case a nice going out comes.
Nina, 3 long pants 2 shorts, 3 dresses, 1 pair of sneakers, 1 pair of sandals, 1 pair of ballerinas, 4 pairs of socks, 2 short pj’s and 1 long one, a good hooded jacket, 3 leggings and 5 t-shirts. Mines was at the training session s I brought a couple of panties to try on. More than this will ruin your trip, It happen to me. You have to wash either way so if it is more than that is crazy. Ah don’t forget to carry a bottle of detergent with you. I fond one like a toothpaste that fits well and you don’t need a lot to wash by hand.
So yes this are my recommendations after this 30 something days traveling in France.