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Family Travel Files Ezine Family Vacations Resource
Caribbean Family Vacations with Baby – You’ll Need Diapers, Sunscreen, and a Hat. Going tropical with a baby takes effort. The whole idea is to have fun but to ensure that things run smoothly pre planning is essential. Toddler life at the beach with dad as servant.

After all, your baby does not need a vacation in the Caribbean but maybe you and your mate do or you wouldn’t be reading this.
 
While the resorts do their part to make young guests feel safe and comfortable, only you know the needs of your family. When planning a tropical vacation that includes a baby or a toddler (or both), lower the stress by taking action early. The suggestions below may seem obvious to some but not to everyone.  
 
1. Decide to go. Discuss the destination being considered with your baby's pediatrician. Unless you already live in the tropics and automatically carry first aid items in your baby’s bag make sure to take ointments for the bites and rashes common to the tropics. Find out what to do in case of sunburn, dehydration or diarrhea. Need to know: Given the current airport inspections, think twice about what goes in your baby’s diaper bag.

2. Ask before leaving. Contact the resort directly to confirm that bedding is available for your stay. Ask about car seats if you plan to rent a vehicle. Do they have safety gates? Pool toys? Get the answers and Pack right and light. Pack a few familiar things. Resist the temptation to stay up late washing everything. Babies love and need their comfort smells just as much as touching and seeing their things. Be selective, the keyword is few, not the whole nursery.

3. Prepare by being predicable. Attempt a predictable schedule in the days leading up to departure. If your vacation destination includes a time zone change, try to move the baby’s schedule to meet the new time. Relax; if it does not work you can adjust your vacation days.Toddler vacation life at the beach.

4. Plan travel time. Try to schedule flying during the normal sleeping or naptime. Use airport time to provide exercise and activity for your young companion or companions. Luckily some airports now have play space for tykes but if that is not an option, while on the ground keep moving. Need to know: The more effort you make in the terminal the better your chances for a less stressful flight.
 
5. Make your resort space safe. While resorts provide baby proof rooms for general activities that may not be true for your room or suite. Do a safety check on your own. Before leaving home speak to someone at the resort about the baby safe policies currently in place. If the answer is negative pack your own safe baby kit including socket plugs, cord clips and table corners and collapsible door gate.

6. Stay the same. Try to remain predictable by establishing a realistic schedule on your first resort day. If you do this well and stick to it, you will have time and freedom and your tykes will have a minimum of stress. Babies and toddlers have resiliency but need predictability. The best situation is that the resort provides the same caregiver each day. Seeing the same face, hearing the same voice and experiencing the same aromas makes a toddler feel at ease. Make a point of introducing your toddler to the caregiver. Consider it a very good sign if the caregiver attempts to meet your child at his or her eye level. Until you are satisfied that your child is adjusted it makes perfect sense to check in from time to time, not necessarily to be seen by your child but to be seen by the caregiver.
 
7. Do less. With babies the rule is less is more. Seek quiet comfortable spaces with a limited number of activities. The idea is not to stress the baby by over stimulation during the day, so that the night will be stress free. Napping with the baby is a gift often forgone when busy schedules erode time. Napping on a tropical afternoon will by itself be rejuvenating but will also improve the quality of the evening.
Beach time for a busy toddler on vacation but not from trucks.
8. Use sun protection. Sunscreen - get it, pack it, and use it. For babies the best solution is staying out of the midday sun. Think naptime; look for shade. Use hats and light weight clothing when exposure to the tropical sun is unavoidable. Read the label on the sunscreen product before buying it because not all products are baby safe. When applying it to your toddler use the same system of coverage and reapply often. This is not a product to spare.

9. Arrange adult time. Knowing you have either eliminated or diminished the stress points relax and have fun. Remember vacations are not for the babies. Vacations are for the parents of babies. Need to know: If you desire evening time away from you baby or toddler, ask about babysitting.  Do not assume all care givers are certified for infant/toddler, ask. Unless your child is accustomed to being in a group of other toddlers, avoid group drop off situations.
 
10. Ask for help. Several companies provide services to ease vacation transitions. Depending on your own situation, it may make sense. We like the two companies below because they understand the craziness of travel with young children and offer help to ease the stress.

Our favorite Caribbean vacation books for toddlers.
Curious Clownfish.
By Eric Madde & Adrienne Kennaway, Little Brown & Company; (July, 1990). This is one of our all time favorites. The book is a pure delight to share with young children. The large, bright illustrations and the endearing story make this an ideal airport companion. At my teen’s insistence, this book will remain in our family library for the next generation. (Ages 2-5) 

Anancy-spiderman.
by James Berry, Walker Books; (July 27, 1989). Every young child will be enchanted by the folktales of Anancy (Anansi). This book contains a collection of 20 tales about the antics of the West Indian trickster and his companions Bro Monkey, Bro Dog, and Bro Tiger. This collection is ideal for an airport layover or a prelude to naptime. (3-10)

A Caribbean Counting Book.
by Faustin Charles. Houghton Mifflin; (March 3, 1996). The perfect trip companion for parents with young travelers, this book engages tykes in the island culture with rhymes and rhythms typical of Jamaica, Martinique to the Dutch West Indies. Count pawpaws and breadfruit, guava, centipedes, and fish. This book works really well with the lighthearted  A Caribbean Alphabet by Frane Lessac's. Both create a sense of place for young children by making them a part of the learning base. (Ages 2-5)
 
Content researched and posted by Nancy Nelson-Duac, Curator of the Good Stuff for the Family Travel Files with images from Family Travel Files. Copyright updated for 2018.  


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