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- Keep a clothes peg in your handbag. It makes a great, quiet, small toy, it also means that should the children have any crisps or biscuits, the packet can be sealed up again without having to finish it or throw away.
- Prepare for long journeys with little ones by buying small inexpensive toys and edible treats (eg boxes of raisins) that will keep them amused. Wrap each one carefully in gift wrap. Whenever an eruption is likely due to boredom a present retrieved from your bag will divert their attention. Worked for a long-haul flight for my 2.5 year old!
- On long car trips play 'Who Can Stay Quiet The Longest?' with a prize at the end for the best player. You'll be surprised at how much peace you can get.
- Do not cycle open-mouthed under trees from which caterpillars may be dangling.
- Never go for a walk in the woods with just you and your toddler and forget the pushchair.
- Long-haul travel? Wear a sports bra. It's comfy and there is less metal to set off the detectors at security.
- Get a surfers changing bag for trips to the swimming pool. These open out flat so you can use it to change the baby on on the floor, they're big enough to carry everything and are waterproof/washable.
- If you're flying with a child and there's a stranger in the third seat of your row, ask a flight attendant for some sick bags before the doors close. The instant the doors are closed, the stranger will move if there is any spare seats at all, leaving you with some extra room.
- Just so you know, there is no good parenting answer to: Are we nearly there yet?
- Keep any bubble wrap. It is a great thing to keep kids entertained. Either cut up in small pieces for car trips etc or cut into large pieces and taped to the floor to jump on. Always passes a bit of time.
- Those portable DVD players attached to the back of the front seats are well worth the investment.
- Take talc with you to the beach. Great for getting sand off ,without causing distress.
- Going on holiday? Make sure your children take rucksacks so that they can carry their own towels, drinks, snacks so you don't have to carry everything!
- When you go anywhere with your children, or on your own for that matter, get into the habit of looking back as you leave. This should prevent the loss of many small items such as gloves, scarves, books etc..
- Follow the 10 minute rule: Always give an advanced warning 10 minutes before you want your children (or husband) to do something. For example 10 minutes before you want to leave the house say 'we are leaving in ten minutes'. Try to stick to time and they will get used to the fact they have to prepare!
- Before a long journey (or even just for a school run!) visit your local library for story tapes/cd's to play in the car. My kids even now at 13,12,and 10 years love them.
- Use the buggy sun shade in the car, over the carseat for effective cover.
- When you're driving, try and make sure the car isn't vibrating too much on the door where your kid would rest their head. Makes it really uncomfortable. Give 'em a pillow or something.
- Whenever I'm in the supermarket or at the shops, I keep an eye out for cheap little toys, books, stickers etc. I have a hidden stash of these and when we're going on a long car journey, or meeting friends for lunch, I fill my toddler's little bag and buy some quiet time as she discovers lots of lovely new things to play with!
- If you want to send postcards on holiday, Don't take a hefty address book - write the addresses out on white labels and pop them in your purse. Sorted!
- On short or long daytrips, to ensure I take everything I need for my child, I pack a bag by remembering 5 WORDS:
As I think of each point I pack what I need depending on where we are going, weather, age of child etc. Eg, FOOD = drink, snacks, fruit, etc; TOILET = nappies,wipes,potty, etc; SLEEP = pushchair, blanket, pyjamas, etc. And so on.
So far, I have never been caught short with this memory aid!
- If you are going eurocamping and have a long journey, I would highly recommend in car dvd players. They are great for the journey and you can use them in the tent for a quiet hour when you get there too!
- Very, very important travel tip: do not put 'travel size' toothpaste tube (with distinctive red on white lettering) in the same sponge bag as your thrush cream (with distinctive red on white lettering). Trust me.
- If your dcs are prone to car-sickness, keep an empty ice cream tub in the car for use in emergencies - the lid means that if you can't stop immediately after it's been used, you can avoid unpleasant spillages
- Play the A-Z game with older children - 7 onwards taking it in turns to say something inside or outside the car taking alphabet letters in turn, then carry on after Z by doing it using the alphabet backwards.
- When putting little ones in the car - shout hands up and get them to put their hands in the air - so when you shut the doors no trapped fingers
- Always take talc in your beach bag - it gets sand off kids in seconds.
- Going abroad? Take a photo on your mobile of all your holiday belongings laid out before you pack them, plus a photo of the outside of your suitcase. If it goes missing, give airport baggage desk and insurance company photographic evidence to help track your luggage down.
- Kids yelling in the back? Tell them you will open the windows to suck the grumps out. Works best at 60mph as they get a bit of a shock and mostly start laughing. Tip: do not do this when holding games consoles [hmm].
- Sanity saver on long journeys? The title music game. One of you hums the theme music of a TV programme, the person who guesses it gets the next go.
- If you know you're going to be stopping for a break on a long car journey always make sure you put the pushchair in last, not first under all the luggage!
- In the car, have a family competition to spot the weirdest thing driving (or being driven) on the motorway. Our last trip we saw both halves of a house, a McDonald's sign, and a pink stretch limo.
- Invest in a cheap laminator to make your own activity sheets when travelling. They wipe clean so can be used time and time again. Unfortunately, we haven't yet found a solution for stopping the children from drawing on each other!
- An alternative to I Spy for younger children who don't know the letter is I spy something the colour of x
- always take your own toilet roll and washing up items on a caravan holiday, these aren't always provided.
- I always carry a couple of old towels in the car and then cover them over my 2 car seats when we aren't in the car .. on a hot day the metal clasps of the child's car seats can get very hot and covering them up prevents my boys from burning themselves on them from the heat inside the car.
- Use a roll of tin foil and a packet of blu tack to make an excellent blackout for windows on holidays/nights away. Stops kids waking at first light and very easy to pack too.
- For a trip to the seaside look for beach far away from built up areas. Here you will find clean peaceful beaches.
- Before going on holiday, find out if your appartment will have a balcony with sun on it when your baby is due to sleep so you can get some sunbathing done in peace rather than sitting in a jumper counting the minutes until the wake up and you can go out again. *bitter experience*
- If jetting off on holiday dress your child in their favourite fancy dress outfit - easy to spot in a crowd and also if you need to ask anyone if they have seen spiderman etc!
- A game to play in the car (if your children are school age) is to spot a numberplate and see who can spell the longest word using all the letters on the numberplate. So for example, if the letters on the number plate were tvl, someone might say travel, someone else might say travels and someone else might say televisions.
- Make a portable blackout blind by sticking/hand stitching velcro strips onto a piece of dark or blackout material. Take the other 'half' of the velcro sticky strips when travelling to stick onto the window frame.
- scrapbooks on holidays are a great way of getting children to practice their writing without it feeling like work. take glue, scissors and some fun pens with you( as well as the scrap book itself....)and don't let them forget to pick up bits during the day that they can stick in
- A bit late - but for next year - When camping take a pack of glowsticks. They are fantastic in the kids bedroom in the tent as they provide a reassuring glow all night.
- When going on a long journey, buy a couple of 'lucky bags' to keep the kids happy...
- Replace the used items from your day bag when you get back EVERY SINGLE TIME to avoid the 'uh but I'm sure there were nappies in here' conversations when stuck in the middle of nowhere with Mr Stinky Pants
- Rent audio stories from the library for long car journeys. Peace, perfect peace.
- copy a sheet of road signs from a map or driving manual and give them to kids on a long journey. They have great fun trying to spot all the signs
- Mum are we nearly there? Give the DC's a stack of coins and every time they ask that question they have to give a coin back. Amazingly how young and quickly they learn the value of the coins
- I play a lovely game in the car with my 3 year old, where I think of an animal and she has to guess which one it is by asking questions to which I can only respond 'yes' or 'no' to, for example does it have wings, does it live in the sea etc- great for killing some time on a long car journey!
- I keep a mini pack in every bag that we use: a pack of top trumps, plastic carrier bag, bottle and wipes for emergency loo situations, plasters and antiseptic cream and some water. Covers most things!
- Always have a few old carrier bags, some baby wipes and some chewing gum in the car. Great for unexpected travel sickness, even when your children are older. The wipes are also handy for mopping up spills, the bags for collecting rubbish and the chewing gum for freshening breath. (Chewing gum can also prevent some being sick in the car).
- In-car DVD player and a variety of short DVD programmes recorded off TV - so no fighting over who is watching first - can take turns to watch a half hour show. If youngest falls asleep then anything goes! Makes long journeys more comfortable for all travellers!
- On long road trips play what's for lunch/tea/eat at the next stop? Everyone looks out for lorries (Morrisons are especially good), posters etc with food or drink items on them to construct the next meal.
- Extra rear-view mirrors trained on the back seats will allow you to keep an eye on the children without having to turn around, and are particularly useful if you're driving without another adult. They are easy to get hold of in car accessory shops or online.
- If you're travelling on the tube/train/bus etc with toddlers (who are yet to read words by themselves), read signs adverts etc as instructions that have been put up asking 'children not to misbehave in anyway' For example that confused.com advert on the tube says: do not jump around on the tube or the tube driver will come out and tell you off. I find this works brilliantly with my 4 year old :o)
- Magic colouring books are a must for any car. Only the magic pen is needed to create beautiful colourful pieces of art and will keep them entertained and mesmerised on those long journeys
- My parents installed portable Playstations in their car for long journeys, which can be removed and hidden out of sight. I cannot afford it, but grandparents usually have more dosh! Kept my previous 'fighting' boys amused for hours!
- If money is short and you are going out for the day with the kids take some cut and buttered bread rolls with you. All you have to do is buy a portion of chips and you can feed several for very little. Picnic chip butties!
- Invest in a tub of playdoh and some little cutters and pop them in a bag and then into your kiddies changing bag. Provides great entertainment for our little one when we go to restaurants
- Get an Etcha-Sketch to take on a plane journey. Less hassle than pen and paper
- don't even start with children - targeted CDs in the car. The Dingle Dangle scarecrow will drive you insane! Get them into what you like listening to - happy car journeys for everyone (and little ones love to head bang in the back!)
- Keep sachets of calpol/neurofen in the car, with a spoon. Very useful for emergencies, and no glass bottles to break.
- If you're catching an early package tour flight at some godawful time in the morning, put your kids to bed in their clothes the night before to save grief. Ideally you'd feed them their breakfast the night before as well, but that would be considered *silly*.
- Bubbles are a fantastic way to keep children entertained - keep a small pot in the pram basket.
- A tip for encouraging your children when taking them on long walks in the countryside - come armed with lots of post-it notes and get your children to run ahead and stick little notes for you to find along the way or for younger brothers and sisters to find. Its amazing how small things keep small minds engaged and how quick they forget to complain about aching feet !
- When going out for the day to somewhere like the beach or a theme park dress your DC in something really bright making them easier to spot should they wander ahead of you.
- Keep a small backpack with sun hats, sun lotion, rain jackets, felt pens, (leak-proof)bubbles, a folding kite, baby wipes and a nappy or spare pants in your car boot.
- For trips in the car the Yes and No game always works for me. The kids love it.
- Are we nearly there yet? Teach your kids to read the map then you can ask them this question.
- when coming back from crab fishing remember to remove all traces of bacon from the crab lines... else in a few days you will have accidentally cultivated a maggot farm!
- Use solar lanterns in your tent for a gentle night light that should last through the night if you are camping with little ones.
- If you are camping with a cool box, squash bubble wrap over the top of the food and ice blocks to keep the cold around the food.
- no room for toys in hand luggage? take a packet of balloons in case it rains - always guarantees fun
- add a stupid sticker to your case so you know its yours... ours is some football stickers
- To avoid creased clothes, role them up instead of folding - works wonders in your suitcase/back pack.
- When going on holiday, don't buy kids magazines until you get to the airport. It kills a bit of time during that long wait after check in and the mags are the same price on air-side.
- On a car journey, just be organised - get everything you'll need (make a list if necessary) to hand, and out of their hands!
- Photocopy the passports before you go and keep these separate to the passports. That way, if you lose the passports, you have the details to hand for the embassy
- For plane journeys, buy the pull-up style nappies - room in the toilets is always limited and this makes it much easier to do a standing up nappy change.
- For your own clothes, the thin plastic wrap that your dry cleaning comes back in makes a brilliant anti-crease lining for folded clothes in a travel bag/suitcase. Just fold the clothes around it so that it is within every fold, and garments will arrive the other end with very few signs of travel!
- When on holiday if you prefer not to use resort baby-sitters, get your child to nap late in the day so they can eat out with you in the evening
- Play the quiet game in the car. After 3 everyone (including Mum!) has to be quiet until you reach your destination. Believe it or not kids love it! sanity saver!
- Buy your children a fun book about the travel destination. It can be a sticker book, colouring book or, for older children, a novel set in the place you are travelling to. It really does work to keep them occupied and as an educational tool.
- Travel tip for parents of children who state 'I'm bored :( when will be there....' before you've even reached the end of your road!! I recently scoured book shops and came up with a wonderful (thick!!) joke book which kept my grandson, aged 7, giggling away and quoting jokes at us all the way to Portugal!!
- When flying with younger children, let them bring a small 'roll-y bag' as their carry-on. They provide endless amusement when waiting in the airport, save your back from carrying yet another bag, and conveniently hold toys, books, snacks, etc. that are readily accessible but easily stow able under the seat.
- My top travel tip for air travel with toddlers is to bring a small tea set so that your little one can copy the cabin crew. Kept my daughter entertained for the whole flight from Palma to London.
- My hotel booking tip is always to put in the comments section of the on-line booking: any upgrades would be extremely appreciated and also to notify the hotel of any birthdays, anniversaries etc. When travelling with children, we generally ask for a quiet room away from other guests if possible!
- When staying in hotels with a small child, take a ready bed with you and you usually avoid the extra charges incurred for putting an extra bed into the room. And what's more you don't have the small person bouncing up and down and pinching all the duvet in your bed...
- Lollipops may not be a dentists friend, but they help with ear popping on flights and take ages to savour.
- Dispense some sun cream into an empty travel size shampoo bottle then pop it in your handbag/changing bag. It takes up hardly any room & you'll always be prepared if you get caught out on a sunny day.
- Use a pair of your socks on your toddler for when they have their wellies on as they fit all the way up to their ickle knees and look cute, but don't fall off and get lost.
- When packing a bag for a toddler girl, I pop all her knickers and socks in a pair of tights, easy to grab in the event of little accidents and they don't all spring out and assault me when we reach the hotel!
- Convince your children that they become invisible when they have sunblock on. Ooh where HAS your arm gone, oh look shall I do your leg, I can still see it. Oh what a good boy, I can only see your nose - oh no where HAS he gone????
- For small children always pack surprises for the journey. So if you're travelling by sea, air or land stow away some surprise games, small toys or treats e.g something that can fit into a match box. It's amazing how creative you can get - it'll be enough to distract them or keep them going.
- If you carry lots of gubbins around in your pushchair basket but have to fold it up sometimes say when getting onto a busy bus, carry a string bag with you. The string bag scrunches up small enough to keep in a handbag or the pushchair pocket but expands enormously to hold all the stuff. In fact the stuff can be kept in the string bag in the pushchair basket as it squishes to size and shape and then can be removed all as one when required.
- Travelling in the Arabian Gulf: if you're unsure where you can breastfeed there are 'family rooms' in restaurants and a rest area attached to Women's mosques (found in shopping centres). Failing that I found as long as I covered up with a scarf I was in fact more welcomed in coffee shops and so on than in the UK.
- No trip away from home is ever so short that you don't need to pack the calpol and the vapour rub!
- Carry/wear a pashmina when travelling by plane. It can be useful both for yourself (if the plane is cold) and for your child as a blanket/pillow.
- take a watering can on the beach to shower the sand off kids and cool down
- Noise-cancelling headphones. I know they are expensive, but they are SO worth it - from letting the DC watch DVDs in the back of the car without you having to share the joys of the 15th episode of Peppa Pig, through to ignoring other people's wailing DC when travelling long-haul on your own, you will thank yourself every time for making that investment.
- Traffic jam game - choose a car you keep passing and you and the kids have to guess all about the person inside, what their job is, where they live, what they like doing, anything you like (just make sure they can't hear you!). Made us laugh.
- If you're travelling long-haul with small children, just remember that even a flight to New Zealand is only 24 hours out of your entire life. Don't miss out on great experiences just because you're worried the flight might be hard work.
- Thread a necklace of peas for car journeys. Keeps the children entertained and they eat a healthy snack the whole way too.
- Make car journeys a time for learning new songs. My kids love this and look forward to this aspect of car journeys. And keeps them entertained as they try to remember all the words. Favourite so far has been Puff The Magic Dragon.
- Although you can board planes first when travelling with babies and toddlers i've found that it's easier to let them roam around the departure lounge as long as possible. They get a bit of a runaround and you have less time sitting on the plane waiting for take off when they aren't allowed to get up and move around.
- teach children how to pee in a field/behind a telephone box/in the gutter when it's not an emergency so the stress is lower when it is.
- If we're stuck in traffic on the motorway, my kids play a game which involves a series of actions that they do and see if people in other cars will copy them. They start by waving, once someone has waved back they then salute. Once someone has saluted back, they progress to (for eg) waving their foot, sticking their tongue out etc, etc. You are only limited by your and your children's imagination. Passes the time and brings many laughs.
- Might sound silly but check the price of nappies where you're going. I once travelled to a place where they were 4 times more expensive! I just put a big pack of nappies in the baby's suitcase =)
- Before the start of a long journey, involve your kids in thinking what you are going to do (in 1/2 hour sections) e.g. 1/2 hour I spy, 1/2 hour thinking of all your best holidays, 1/2 hour radio on etc. What drives kids nuts is not understanding how much longer the journey will take. And never ever put on the DVD player until the last 2 hours otherwise you are making a rod for your own back ...
- My eldest is starting school this September so to help keep him (and his little brother) entertained I have a 'jolly phonics' CD in the car. They love listening to it and not only does it help to pass the journey away but he now knows most of the actions to go with the letters.
- If you're packing to go on holiday abroad, spread the family's clothes between all your suitcases so, if one case goes missing, you all still have clothes to wear.
- Ask the kids how many church spires they can count; it's a bit like counting sheep!!Same result!
- If car travel in the day or at bedtime isn't working try an early start. Put them in the car and get on the road as or just before they normally wake up, after giving them some breakfast. We were surprised at how well this worked.
- When going camping vacuum pack duvets,pillows,blankets and clothes like jeans to save space. When packing to come home you can still use the vacuum bags to pack and use dh/dc's to sit or roll on bags to squeeze air out!
- If you want to get your two year old to sleep in the car, give them a funky pair of kids sunglasses to wear, the dark gets them to sleep in a wink!!
- Keep a tub of buttons and some laces in the car for kids over 3. They can spend journeys lacing in different orders to make bracelets etc.
- Use a cellular blanket and two pegs to attach it to your pushchair hood to keep the sun off children. Also blocks wind and flying insects.
- When going out and about take a drinks bottle and fill up to a third and freeze overnight. When ready to go out, top up with another third of juice or water and your drink will be cool all day,
- Magnetic board games are great for the car and planes as the bits don't fall off or get lost
- Black-out blind when away?
Take a dark coloured fitted double sheet and some pegs with you. The sheet fits round the curtain pole and the pegs keep the other bits in place on the curtains. And wooo more sleep on holiday [fingers crossed]
- If you are struggling for time in between picks up after school, prepare small packed lunches for dinner and take them to the park for a picnic in between pick ups (my gap is an hour but by the time I got home it would be time to go out again!)
- If you have a netbook with a long life battery, upload a few kids films onto the hardrive and they will come in handy for long journeys for restless children!
- If going camping, wrap your clothes in plastic bags to protect them from the rain
- A game for long car journeys: pick a number between 10 and 99 and first to spot their number on a car number plate wins!
- Wear your heaviest clothes when getting onto a plane, so you can get by with hand-luggage only. Then put them back in a shopping bag and in the overhead locker as soon as you get on the plane.
- Get your children to carry their own little rucksacks on journeys to hol/days out, from an early age. Not only does it mean you carry less, it also gives them things to keep them occupied without having to ask you to get the bags down off the luggage rack.
- When you go on hols, take all the clothes the kids are growing out of, then give them to charity to save taking them home :)
- My mum always used to have a damp flannel in a plastic bag and a hairbrush in the car on long journeys. Great for a quick scrub up before seeing the rellies!
- For that time when babies are too big to be on your knee but the standard seat belt is a joke! Take your car seat on the aeroplane - your little one is safely strapped in, in comfortable and familiar surroundings so will probably nod off and you've got your car seat with you so its not getting trashed in the hold! Check what dimensions the airline will allow.
- If you have a small boy, especially of the sort who won't wee until he actually needs it, then keep an empty coke bottle (the 500ml sort) around in the car or your bag. They make a great portable urinal that can even be used in a traffic jam.
- take toys which light up on aeroplane trips if flying overnight. useful for entertaining when the lights go off at takeoff and landing
- When you pack your suitcase keep a check list inside so you can see what you didn't use while you were away. Then next time you go to pack your suitcase you will know what you REALLY need! Leaving more room for souvenirs on the trip back!
- Rather then taking a big pack of baby wipes with you, just put a handful into a zip top plastic food bag!
- Carplay: Play I spy with colours. Take it in turns to say I spy something orange/red/yellow... etc. My 3.10yo invented this when we were stuck in traffic in London. If you're in moving traffic, is helpful to include things that are moving with you [grin].
- Travel Tip for long car journey:
To keep our 2 and 1/2 year old DD entertained on a 10 hour car trip, we downloaded a few of her favourite TV shows and films onto our laptop, and then wedged it in between the two front seats to create a perfect TV, without having to invest in an expensive portable DVD player. Definitely kept her amused for at least 1/3 of the car journey.
- Travelsick child in a car? Travel at night if possible so they sleep. If not able to, then let them nibble on a ginger biscuit and keep car cool. If too warm allow them to have a breeze on their face and take corners slow.
- Never, ever go anywhere without nappy bags. They are useful/lifesavers for preventing drinks seeping, fruit spills, etc, as well as waterproof carriers for wetwipes.
- Use a toiletry bag as a home made first aid kit for holidays and days out - a few plasters, antiseptic cream, sting relief, tissues,paracetamol,throat sweets, a lemsip, mozzie spray, small bandage. If you are prepared for it, it may never happen!
- Pack a mini-essentials kit (wipes, couple nappies, few biscuits, etc) and keep in glove compartment when on long car journeys.
- If you have forgotten to bring a spare nappy, a folded muslin with a supermarket plastic bag strategically origamied around it will get you home.
- The only way of keeping children quiet in the car is a DVD player. Nothing else works, believe me!
- When you pack for holidays, try packing bags within bags with everything you need for different activities already inside them. For instance have your beach bag complete with towel, suncream and book inside your suitcase. When you arrive all you need do is pull out the beach bag and head down to the pool!
- Whenever I travel to a new place, I buy an embroided badge of the area and sew it onto my picnic blanket. I now have over 150 badges which brings back loads of memories every time we have a picnic
- When the kids ask if we are nearly there yet don't be tempted to lie if there is a long way to go. If they are old enough, they can read how many miles are left on the SAT NAV. Better to play a game or count down the miles to the next service station.
- If you have 2 small children who are fighting over a toy, allow them to have it for a count of 10 or 20. This teaches them to count and allows them to understand they will get it soon. having it 'for a minute' means nothing to toddlers.
- As the year goes on collect all the gifts from their party bags. Stash and when it comes to a long journey wrap them up and hand them out as the journey goes buys. Keeps them amused and is free!
- If you're a vegetarian and going on a flight, take your own food. You can almost guarantee you won't get your veggie meal you ordered!
- Car journeys: play What am I counting? You count lorries, bridges, speed cameras (or whatever) out loud and everyone else has to figure out what you're counting. For older kids, you can make it trickier: cars with one person in; the word logistics on lorries; street lights that aren't working properly...
- If self-catering in the UK, book an internet grocery delivery to arrive at your holiday let just after you plan to arrive.
- A bucket in the back seat of your car saves hefty cleaning bills after long car journeys!
- When flying, always check what shops the airport has after security. You may be able to avoid checking in any luggage to avoid security if there is a pharmacy in the departure lounge.
- Always take a bucket lined with a plastic bag, a bottle of water and some kitchen roll on a long car journey...
- Story CDs (from the library) are a great way to entertain older children on long car journeys and, unlike DVDs/computer games are less likely to cause car sickness.
- Some small children get overwhelmed by too much newness on holiday. Make sure there is free time to just play and rest.
- Make sure your kids swim nappies fit BEFORE you pack them. They're very expensive abroad.
- A way of keeping kids quiet in the car I learned from my Mum - give each child a mint humbug/everton mint and it's a contest to see who can make theirs last the longest! Works every time.
- When we are on a long motorway journey in a car, we play a game where we each pick a shop, and see who can spot a lorry for that company. It keep the kids happy for at least an hour! Otherwise, there's always the colour-spotting game.
- Hanging clothes up in the bathroom and running a hot shower really helps unravel creases in suitcase crumpled garments.
- When planning a holiday with children, consider renting a private apartment rather than booking a hotel room. It is cheaper and gives you much more space (especially useful if young children go to bed early).
- You know those little plastic egg holders that come with your fridge? Take one to the beach/park with you: they make great carriers for multiple ice creams!
- Play pub sign cricket on car journeys. Points are scored for every leg on the sign - 4 points for The Dog and Gun, 2 points for The Eagle etc
- Give the children a throwaway camera or let them use an old one so they can snap away the things that interest them while travelling,when they get back home they can make a scrap book with all their fab pics in!
- Keep a small snack in the car for when tempers run high. You could get some for the kids, too.
- Keep a travel pack of wipes and a nappy in the pocket on the back of your seat in the car. I've used this emergency nappy more times than i care to remember.
- What to do at the beach? Let the children bury you with sand. This will take them some time and means you can lie down!
- Long car journey? Try a game of letter, letter, ring ring. Whenever you see a letterbox you say, Letter, letter and whenever you see a phone box, you say, Ring ring. It just as irritating and as likely to cause fights as I-spy but at least it's a bit of variation.
- Off on holiday with a toddler or two? Pack a small roll of sticky tape - and use it to seal over low-level electrical sockets.
- Camping tip - pitch your tent close to a hedge/wall/fence that will give you some shade first thing in the morning, so you're not roasted out of your tent at 5am.
- On days out, I always take a photo of our children on my mobile phone before we go. I then have a reminder of clothes they are wearing/full description in case they get lost.
- Don't leave wax crayons on the dashboard of a hot car. They will melt leaving rainbow splatters over the seats as you remove them. This particularly applies to expensive hire cars.
- Off camping? Remember that water boils MUCH faster in a saucepan than a kettle. Useful to know when the children wake you up at 6am and you're desperate for a cup of tea!
- Take glow sticks when camping- they act like night lights in the tent, plus, if your kids are up after it has gone dark you can keep tabs on them!
- Invest in UV suits for all the family (adults too) if you're heading somewhere hot. Saves money on suncream and means you can all play in the sun without worrying about burning. It transformed my life!
- Get your kids a disposable camera to take on holiday - they'll get some great "kid-view" keepsakes and you'll both get a laugh looking through them for years to come.
- keep some children's coats, spare clothing and wellies permanently in the car boot if you can. Also a towel and some carrier bags. They'll come in handy just when you least expect.
- When packing for a holiday, pop a packet of balloons in the bag. They take up no room but have guaranteed entertainment potential
- Don't leave first thing for a long journey. Go swimming or to the park to tire them out. Leave after an early lunch and they'll probably sleep for the first few hours.
- On plane journeys, tie toys with a ribbon to the seat belt. It'll prevent your child from dropping them and mean you won't have to spend the whole flight scrabbling on the floor.
- Get your kids a disposable camera to take on holiday, that way they have some great keepsakes and you both get a laugh looking through them for years to come.
- Taking nappies on holiday with you? Take them out of their packet and line your case with them. They'll take up less space and provide a covering in case anything leaks.
- On long car journeys, get the children to spot road signs and try to work out what they mean. At age 3 and 5 they are already practising for their driving test!
- Radio 4 do a podcast of CBeebies radio. I've subscribed to it on my ipod. Fantastic for car journeys.
- Stop the wheels of your pushchair getting dirt onto the material hood of the pushchair when it's folded up by covering them with a carrier bag.
- When packing for children for holidays, run through a typical day, from waking up until bedtime ,and write a list according to what you would use (eg first thing nappy change, dress, so wipes, nappy and sack).
- Rather than pack a new bag of equipment every time you take your baby out in the stroller or in the car, why not have a special bag readily packed with nappies, wipes, snacks, toys, muslins and a change of clothes.
- To keep your baby/toddler occupied on a plane or long car journey, get some coloured dot stickers, stick some on their arms and legs and then let them peel them off. It keeps them amused for a good half hour or so and is a great distraction.
- I know we shouldn't encourage too much TV watching but on a long journey a portable dvd player is a life saver, great for cars trains or planes.
- When choosing a changing bag, remember that once your hormones have calmed you'll not only want something that will blend with your normal style, but that Dad won't be adverse to carrying as well. (Well, we all need a lie in sometimes...)
- We keep a rucksack of small toys in our car boot. A mixture of books, crayons, toy cars and animals and leftover tat from party bags, it keeps the kids amused when out and about.
- Keep children occupied on long journeys by printing out a double-sided sheet of logos and landmarks they're likely to see on your travels - laminate it for longevity!
- Keep empty egg cartons and use them for snacks on a long journey. Each of the compartments can hold a little peice of fruit, or some cheese, or even a cake.
- To keep children occupied on car journeys try playing snooker! Find the colours and alternate reds to sink shots. Breaks could be made by ambulance, police car as you decide.
- For a long journey, give kids a disposable camera to take photos of the best parts of the journey, there is always something to snap in the car!
- If you're heading off camping, don't rule out take-aways. We ordered a pizza takeaway on our first night and got it to deliver to our pitch on the site!
- Take towelling dressing-gowns to the beach/pool. That way the children can get warm and dry in half the time and leave you free to get yourself ready.
- If you're going on holiday, plait your daughter's hair into lots of small braids. It means she can go in the water without the dreaded de-tangling session, it's dead easy to wash and looks cool.
- During hot weather, keep an old white sheet in your car to cover kids' car seats with when not in use. Stops them getting burning hot if your car is baking in the sunshine.
- Keep an empty ice cream tub in the front of the car within easy reach for when you hear the inevitable "Muuuum, i feel siiiick".
- Before going on holiday buy second hand books from a charity shop so there's new stories for journeys and bedtime and it doesn't matter if the books get damaged.
- Buy a pack of stick on car wondow sunshades with washable pens. Keeps the kids entertained for hours and you can wipe them off and start again!
- Pass the parcel is a great way to bide the time on a long car journey. Using newspaper put small gifts in between each layer and get the kids to pass it between each other until you turn off the radio/cd.
- Sew two piece of ribbon to the tops of your blankets. When you use them in the buggy you can tie the ribbon to the frame to stop it dragging on the wheels or falling off.
- Collect all the tourist leaflets you can. When planning a day out, a quick rummage through them gives ideas of where to go and all the details such as opening times, admission price and directions.
- When travelling by air with very young children, give them a drink or bottle just after the wheels lift to help equalise the pressure in their ears as the aircraft climbs. This will help to avoid ear ache dramas.
- When travelling, take your children's pillows with you for that 'at home' feeling. Settling to sleep in a strange place is made so much easier with something familiar.
- When flying alone with a three year old boy - take a biggish bag of lego as carry-on luggage. Endlessly useful during long delays and a great way to make friends in an airport.
- Keep the 'freebie' 4 pack of crayons you get in restaurants in your handbag along with a small pad - a great back up for keeping a bored toddler amused.
- If you're going to a crowded place with your children, wear something colourful on top so at least they can spot you easily if they lose sight of you.
- Pipe cleaners, available from any cigs counter, are cheap car entertainment, better still if front passenger can play - take turns to guess what the other has made it into.
- If you've a long journey ahead, go to your library and get some audio tapes of children's stories. Walkmans can now be picked up for as little as five pounds and you're guaranteed a good hour's peace.
- To lessen the amount you spend on snacks when out on a day trip, give your children their favourite big breakfast before you embark on your journey.
- Keep an emergency bag in the car in case of breakdowns or traffic jams. We have blankets, a change of clothes, extra nappies and wipes, water, milk, some raisins and biscuits, a few books and some paper and crayons.
- If you are setting off on a long journey on a hot day, put mainly ice-cubes in your toddler cup. The drink stays cold and they cannot just pour it away.
- Keep a 'packing list' on the PC for when you go away: makes the job so much easier, and you're less likely to forget vital things like pyjamas
- On long journeys we make words up from the letters on car number plates - great for helping with spelling and also good fun for passing the time. You'd be amazed what you can come up with...
- To preserve your modesty and keep both hands free on swimming trips, invest in a cheap bath robe for yourself - it's a lot easier than trying to cling on to your towel and your toddler.
- When choosing a seaside resort, do some research to discover what beaches are not near arcades. Beaches that are lined with rides and penny machines can turn children into whining monsters. Avoid at all costs.
- My top travel accessory for toddlers is a large bottle of bubbles - the bubbles keep them entertained in the airport and the liquid can be used for washing up cups etc when you get there.
- Keep a supply of nappy bags in the glovebox of your car. They are ideal for wet clothes or shoes and also if a child feels ill they make great sick bags.
- Keep a 'packing list' on the PC for when you go away: makes the job so much easier, and you're less likely to forget vital things like pyjamas!
- For long car journeys my children - three and five - now appreciate stories tapes. You can borrow a selection from the local library and ring the changes.
- Keep a supply of nappy bags in the glovebox of your car. they are ideal for wet clothes and also make great sick bags!
- On long journeys we make words up from the letters on car number plates - great for helping with spelling and also good fun for passing the time.
- When travelling long distances with kids, always pack a small bag with the usual books, games, toys for the journey plus a lightweight change of clothes in case of accident.
- A packet of balloons in your hand luggage takes up little space but can entertain the kids for ages if you are delayed.
- When travelling, take their pillow with you for that 'at home' feeling. Settling to sleep in a strange place is made so much easier.
- The parcel shelf from the boot lid of your car makes a great changing table on car journeys.
- When travelling by plane avoid earache by letting your baby drink from a bottle for the duration of take-off and landing.
- The best value travel toy ever has to be mini pots of play dough. It saw us through the plane journey and coach transfer and kept my two daughters happy and entertained during meals out.
- Get help round the house and let your kids earn their holiday spending money by doing a star chart. We do a Euro per chore.
- On plane trips give your baby a drink from the bottle both on take off and landing - swallowing helps clear their ears.
- If you are going out for a meal (or anywhere small children might find boring) always bring along some small pocket size toys to keep them amused, just give them the toys one at a time throughout the meal.
- As soon as they are old enough, teach your kids to map-read. It keeps them interested in the journey and stops those are we nearly there yet? whines.
- Keep some children's coats, spare clothing and wellies permanently in the car boot if you can. Also a towel and some carrier bags. They will come in handy just when you least expect.
- Buy raisins in little boxes and keep them in your handbag. As they are fiddly to get out of the box they can buy you valuable time when you need to try something on, stand in a check out queue etc.
- When going on a long journey, my three year old kept herself very busy with a box of plasters. She arrived at our destination covered in pink plasters on all available skin.
- By a new toy specifically for long journeys. I use the usual distractions first until my son's patience runs out, then out comes the new toy and the world seemed a better place to him all of a sudden.
- If you have a child who's just turned five and intend to travel abroad this year, sort out their passport now. They need to change the photo, and this really can take a good few weeks, so to avoid stress, do it sooner rather than later.
- Plan ahead for long car journeys by creating a Treasure Hunt of Towns, Villages and places of interest along the way. If written in a map form your child will, not only enjoy the hunt, but will be a joy to travel with.
- If your traveling by plane take a pillow. If you put it across your lap your child can sleep much more easily and you can also hand the whole bundle to you partner for a break!
- I always keep a cheap paper tablecloth and some crayons in my changing bag. When we go out to a restaurant for something to eat I spread the tablecloth over the table and my 2yr old daughter scribbles away to her hearts content.
- Personal stereos and storytapes make long car journeys much more bearable. You can get a cheap tape player from Argos for less than a fiver.
- If you are out and about in a really busy place over the summer, write your mobile number (& mum) on your child's hand. It does give you some peace of mind.
- Keeping a Magnetic Drawing Board in the car for the kids keeps them entertained. You can ask them to draw things they've seen on their journey or anything you like, but they love it.
- If you are hiring a car on holiday, always phone up the car hire company before your holiday to check the type of car seats they are supplying. We had a nightmare when we arrived on hols only to discover they didn't have any rear facing seats which we needed for our baby.
- Before holidays, do a trawl of your local charity shops for cheap little toys and books. The kids have something 'new and different', it doesn't matter if they get sandy orwet, and you can even leave them at the villa for the next family.
- If you're having trouble getting the kids off to sleep - try warming both their nappy and sleepsuit on the radiator while they're in the bath. If it's really cold put a hot water bottle inside their sleeping bag for a few minutes as well. Once they're snuggled in their warmed nappy, sleepsuit and sleeping bag they just can't help themselves!
- Treat your child to a Magnadoodle for long journeys. They give them endless possibilities for drawing and doodling and because the drawing stick is attached, they are unable to lose it.
- Before a long journey, prepare a box or bag with lots of little things your child likes - a small book, toy, pencil and pad, small snack, drink carton, sweet, etc. Allow your child to take one item every 10 or 15 minutes of a journey or every hour of a really long journey.
- When taking your children out to crowded areas like theme parks, write your mobile phone number on a wrist band (hospital type) or make one out of a strip of cloth. Tell your child to phone you or get a responsible adult to do so if they get lost.
- When flying spread the courtesy blanket on the seat and over the floor,covering a wide space. Once your child starts to play with their toys this blanket will ensure that none get lost. Most airlines will let you take the blanket with you which means at the end of the flight you can scoop everything up, tie a knot in the blanket and get off without having to scrounge around on the floor or under chairs.
- Try giving your children peas-in-the-pod to eat during long car journeys. Healthy and also time-consuming to extract and eat, so keeps them quiet for blissfully long periods of time. The shells, although liberally dispersed around car, are also easy to clean up.
- If your toddler is finding the journey home difficult (eg building up towards a tantrum) try asking them for directions. To keep their interest keep double checking as you go - are you sure it's round the next corner.. now were do we go.. oh past this tree, then where?. May sound crazy but they feel really good and you can both enjoy the rest of the walk!
- When last flying short haul with our fifteen month old daughter, we asked for a cup of ice for her. For half an hour she moved ice from one cup to another, content to sit on my lap. As it melted we both drank it. The ice kept her busy, hydrated and helped with her teething pains.
- Always carry a bottle of water with you when you take out your children, and keep one in the car, too. Keeps thirst at bay not matter where you are, and saves you having to buy expensive soft drinks along the way.
- If your child is tired and tearful on the way home from school, try asking them for directions. The distraction will divert them from possible tantrums and instead they will feel really good about themselves.
- When last flying short haul with our fifteen month old daughter, we asked for a cup of ice for her. For half an hour she moved ice from one cup to another, content to sit on my lap. As it melted we both drank it.The ice kept her busy , hydrated and helped with her teething pains.
- I take a portable plastic 'high chair' (booster seat with lap tray and belt) on long train journeys. I attach the seat to the train seat (not super secure but tight enough to stay put)and feed and entertain my toddler for longer than just on my knee.
- An in-the-car game for toddlers: choose three things to spot; e.g. a ladder, a motorbike, and a blue lorry. When we have found them all, we make up another list, encouraging the toddler to help compile it. Works every time.
- For long car journeys velcro two cloth bags to the back of the driver and passenger seat and fill them with little suprises (cheap colouring books and pens and penny sweets). Then let the children have a dip every so often, it works a treat with mine.
- For those long trips, one of you takes the toddler on the train, the other drives with the car. On the train there's more space and interesting things and no need to be strapped in all the time. Not cheap, but what price your sanity ?
- If you're taking a young child on holiday, buy a small, inflatable paddling pool to take with you. You can take it the beach or pool and fill it up and keep your child safely by your side.
- Keep a book and a can in the car for those rare moments when your toddler dozes off on the way home and getting them out would spoil the peace and tranquillity.
- Everything getting a bit noisy in the back of the car? Try the foolproof (!?) Tongue holding competition; everyone has to hold their tongue between finger and thumb for as long as possible, and the last person to let go is the winner!!
- If your child is overheating in hot weather, dip their hats in water to help them cool down. My daughter loved it!
- Feeding a baby during take-off or landing on a plane can help to reduce popping ears, due to the swallowing movement.
(Cow and Gate)
- If buying bottled water for infants, whilst on holiday, try to buy one with a low sodium content (under 20 mg per litre). Sodium is listed on bottles under the symbol Na.
(Cow and Gate)
- On long journeys I make sure my kids each have a rucksack full of their own choice of books and games and plenty of snacks and drinks. Most importantly don't travel any longer than an hour and half before stopping this seems to break up the boredom.
- Take a blow up lilo in your bag and produce it for the kids to sleep on in the event of airport delay. Just one of those cheapo ones would have made so much difference.
- Make your own I-SPY book for long journeys; draw a map, number the junctions, landmarks and towns, for children to tick off, count how many lorries and Little Chefs etc. Our Cornwall trip passes so much quicker now.
- I've always found a cheap bottle of bubbles very handy to take on holiday, great for the kids to chase on the beach or grassed areas.
- To most children a beach is a beach, so why suffer 9 hours on a plane to Florida when they'd be just as contented in Falmouth.
- Pre-book children's meals on flights. They get served first and you'll avoid the endless wait for food.
- If your child won't stand still to have sun cream applied, pretend you're turning them into a warrior prince (boys) or a supermodel (girls). Apologies for sexual stereotyping, but it works for my two!
- Buy a portable potty with a lid. We keep ours in the car - they're really good for traffic jams or car sick kids. I even feel that I could use it in an emergency although I haven't had to yet!
- I flew last month, very nervous about taking our 9 month old, as he has never been a 'lap baby' and is too big for a flight cot. I put him in the footwell to lie down and he slept happily the whole flight!
- Ease the tedium of a long journey by preparing a 'lucky dip' beforehand. Wrap up a few small toys and snacks and let your child dip in the bag when they start getting fidgety.
- When flying with children always board the plane last. Boarding early adds at least 1/2 an hour to the length of time you have to contain a bored child in a confined space.
- Whenever you go away pack a non-slip bathmat (for inside the bath). I've needed one everywhere from Center Parcs to in-laws. It's always on my list now
- If your child is prone to being car sick try letting her sit in the front and use sea bands (bands that go around wrists on accupressure points - available from chemists).
- Whenever you go on a trip or excursion, let your child buy a postcard. My daughter keeps hers in a photo album and loves to look back and remember the places she's been to.
- If you're going to the beach, put sun lotion on you children before you hit the sand. Saves their tears as you try to hold down a wriggling child while massaging in an abrasive sand and sun lotion mix.
- When you go on holiday, get a small rucksack for your little one to carry; for teddy, book, biscuit etc. Makes them feel very involved and important.
- On long car journeys steer clear of expensive, crowded, service stations. Take a slight detour into any decent sized town and head for the leisure centre. You might find a soft play area, a pool and you can have lunch for half the price.
- Make your own I-SPY book for long journeys; draw map, number the junctions for children to tick off, landmarks and towns, how many lorries and Little Chefs etc. Our Cornwall trip passes so much quicker now.
- When your children are thirsty in the car on long journeys, rather than risking sticky spillages from juice cups try feeding them seedless grapes, they're great thirst quenchers.
- In the car, tell them that the first child to spot a two-wheeler will get whatever present they want.
- For long car journeys my children three and five now appreciate stories told on tapes - I usually borrow a selection from my local library to and supplement these with the odd tape story that has a book.
- Looking for other single parents to share holidays with? Try www.friendlytraveller.com. It's free and easy to use and they've just added a special section for single parents under interests. I've used it before and its good.
- When potty training your child, use a folded care mat in their car seat for long journeys. Saves having to wash car seats when you reach your destination.
- When travelling, take their pillow with you for that 'at home' feeling. Settling to sleep in a strange place is made so much easier.
- If you're flying long distance with a young baby, tie any toys to your wrist with string so you don't have to rummage on the floor when she inevitably drops it.
- Short of cash for a summer holiday? Seriously consider a house-swap. You don't have to have a mansion, and more and more people are doing it.