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Failing with Grace – The One Thing to Know When Traveling with Toddlers

Almost everyone who hears that I travel with my toddlers thinks I am NUTS. Like crazy, coo coo clock nuts. And to be honest, at times I might be. Before we decided to start traveling with our kids, I did A LOT of research; “what every parent should know when traveling with their kids, what to take to the beach; how to survive in the ______ (insert planes, trains, automobiles)”. And all of the research was…incredibly helpful. I found gadgets and gizmos to solve all my problems. I found packs, toys, games, music, videos, everything to make our trips easier, so this blog is NOT about what you need to do to prepare or what you need to bring, this blog is about the 1 thing that makes it all work together.

Are you ready for this? The secret that you have been waiting for. To be the queen of traveling with toddlers what you need is (drum roll please) “the ability to fail gracefully”. The real secret.


Toddlers as you all know (and really all children), operate on their own wavelengths. Right when you think you have the perfect schedule laid out for taking a long trip: leave at 5pm, eat dinner in the car, watch one movie and then they will fall asleep, what happens? One kid isn’t hungry, the other wants a different movie, neither can get comfy in their seats, and you mom have failed. And that is ok. Because you fail gracefully, you accept the car meltdown. You let one not eat and the other scream over the movie. You let them stay up because you know eventually their little bodies will give in. You accept your failure. Don’t get mad. Trust me it is not worth it. Just remember the experience you are providing for your family. State your Mom Mantra, “When I fail, I will do so with grace.”


Now since we are doomed to fail it really is all about the grace. Let’s take the plane example. You are on the plane with your toddler and your kid is the one sobbing hysterically, possibly over his ears not popping or because you won’t let him sit on the floor between your feet like a carry-on bag. Either way, failure happened, so what do you do? Well, what one fellow passenger did on the plane when this happened to them was tell us they would catch a drink for us as a thank you for being so cool. Instead of letting the failure eat them alive, which it easily could of, they found the most graceful option they could think of. Now being graceful doesn’t always mean bribing those around you. It could be a simple, “my apologies sir, thank you for your patience”, and include a big smile (a real one).


You are at a restaurant at your travel destination, and when you finally think you might have a decent meal you realize your kids are WAY tuned up. And who would blame them. New city, new environment, on vacation, ready to party. They are doing all things inappropriate and embarrassing. Squealing in delight, throwing their food on the floor, spilling drink after drink, dumping out the salt, crying because you won’t let them lick the ketchup bottle. It is all happening right now. Again you feel like you have failed, but remember it is all about the grace. Don’t get embarrassed. Anyone who is a parent understands and anyone who is not a parent most likely sees you trying your best. Accept your failure, grab some to-go boxes, tip the waiter well, and head on to the next adventure OR stick it out, tip your waiter well, and head to your next adventure. Kids are like a pitching machine set on warp speed. You never know what will be thrown at you and the likelihood of getting hit by a pitch is high.


I highly recommend traveling with your toddlers. The memories can be incredible. Plus the ability to blow a toddler’s mind is so easy at this time (I get to wear my pj’s in the car, I get to sleep outside, we can have dinner in the living room, I don’t have to wear a snowsuit to go outside, palm trees wow, birds, ocean, mountains, cars, I spy, etc.). You simply have to roll with the failures. Lean on your partner…you made this decision together. And, most of all, HAVE FUN! You are on vacation for goodness sakes. If you need a vacation from your vacation because of the stress well then why take the vacation. You might as well stay at work. At least they pay you there.

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