Written by Healthy Parents, Healthy Children; Photo: Courtesy of Healthy Parents, Healthy Children
Summer is a great time to enjoy the warmer weather by planning more outdoor activities and taking family trips together. Whenever you’re traveling with babies and young children, it’s all about the planning!
Whether you’re planning a “staycation” (vacation at home), traveling to the next city or town, traveling across the country or overseas, extra planning can help to make the trip more enjoyable for everyone:
- Read books to your child about where you’re going, it will help get them excited about the upcoming trip.
- Pack a special bag for your child with drinks, healthy snacks, extra diapers, change of clothes, toys, music and books.
- Remember their favorite blanket or stuffy!
- Stick to their nap schedule to help keep them happy and healthy during your travels.
- On vacation, keep identification in their pocket in case you ever get separated.
Staycations can also be lots of fun for the whole family. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be fun:
- Go to a park with a picnic packed with your family’s favorite foods.
- Visit the library and explore different places around the world through books.
- Take a day trip to local sites in Alberta. You can get some great ideas at travelalberta.ca.
- Spend the weekend camping; it’s a great way to explore nature and be active together.
- Check out your local swimming pools, museums and other community facilities. Special programs may be offered during the summer.
- Share your child’s interests and go on an adventure together - real or make-believe.
- You can find other free or low cost activities in your area by calling 2-1-1 or visit ab.211.ca, and be sure to check out the multitude of calendar of events on this website.
A day camp can also be a great way to enjoy the summer. Your child may feel excited, nervous or a little bit of both about going to a day camp. Plan ahead to help your child adjust:
- Talk with your child about what to expect at camp and all the new friends they’ll make.
- On the first day, walk around the camp facility, get introduced to the camp leaders and make sure your child knows where to find things, like the washrooms.
- Encourage your child to talk about their day-camp experiences with your family and friends.
- Make sure that your child gets enough sleep - camp can be exhausting!
- If you’re traveling out of country, start planning early. Ask your health care provider about how to best protect you and your child’s health. Your family can be exposed to infectious diseases that aren’t often seen in Canada. For travel to some countries, your family has to have certain immunizations or take certain medicine before leaving Canada. This process may take several months, so plan ahead. Go to a travel clinic to find out what your family will need. You can find a travel clinic near you at albertahealthservices.ca/services/page13244.aspx.
- Also check out the Government of Canada’s website, travel.gc.ca/travelling/health-safety/travel-health-notices, for up-to-date travel notices and for safe travel advice, visit travel.gc.ca/travelling/publications/well-on-your-way.
This information contains excerpts from Alberta Health Services’ Healthy Parents, Healthy Children print and online resources. For more information on topics related to pregnancy and being a parent, and for information on where you can pick up print copies of the Healthy Parents, Healthy Children resources, free of charge, visit healthyparentshealthychildren.ca.