Tough Situation: Staying Overnight
Visiting a hotel or a relative's house can be an exciting experience for your child, but after traveling he's likely to be overtired and craving the comforts of home. Factor in unfamiliar faces and a strange bed, and you'll be left with a clingy, tantrum-prone kid.
How to Help Pre-trip, flip through photos of the hotel (pull them up online) and your relatives with your child. Show him the type of room he's going to sleep in and any new people he'll meet. It'll help him get a sense of what will happen while you're away so there are fewer surprises, Dr. Singer says.
Once you arrive, let him adjust before encouraging him to socialize. "There might be a while when your little one needs to stay close," says Dr. Singer. "Don't push him until he seems comfortable." If your kid is attached to your hip, simply explain to Grandma that he'll warm up soon.
When it comes to bedtime, keep your kid's routine as normal as possible. Pack familiar items, like his lovey and a night-light, and make him feel extra safe by setting up a baby monitor and showing him where you'll be sleeping if it's not in the same room. All this will help your toddler make a better transition and open him up to some new experiences while you're on vacation.
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of Parents magazine.