We’ve all been there, right? We plan a super fun summer holiday for our toddler, and within the first day they have already had a bunch of tantrums we just couldn’t avoid.
We’re left tired and discouraged, and wondering why we bothered.
Fear not! There is hope!
It turns out that there are a few simple things we can do, to help avoid those summer holiday toddler tantrums, and they’re fairly easy once you know them.
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Why do toddlers have so many more tantrums on a Summer Holiday?
So, why does a toddler have so many more tantrums on a summer holiday than they do at home? I used to find myself asking this all the time.
I mean, it seems so ungrateful, right?
Do they not want us to take them on a summer trip again, because they sure aren’t acting like they’re enjoying it! What’s the point in going to all this effort if we were all happier and more relaxed at home?
Well, don’t give up Mama.
And don’t be too hard on your toddler either. They really aren’t doing it on purpose.
They are just overwhelmed, overstimulated, tired and struggling with all the changes to their routine.
If they are very little, they may not even know what a holiday is, or where they are, or if they’re ever going back home again. It can be so confusing for them, especially when they cannot voice these concerns.
17 Simple Tips to Avoid the Holiday Toddler Tantrums this Summer
1. Always be prepared with Snacks
Having familiar snacks in your handbag all the time, ready for an energy dip, is the simplest and easiest way to prepare.
Kids are more cranky when they’re hungry and if they are feeling homesick or unsettled a spot of holiday comfort eating doesn’t do any harm.
Familiar and well-loved snacks that they eat at home are the best.
If you need some inspiration for handy toddler travel snacks, take a look at the Best Travel Snacks for Toddlers.
2. Avoid Toddler Tantrums this Summer Holiday by Pre-empting them
As a parent, you know your toddler best and will likely be able to see when a tantrum is on the way. Try to jump in ahead of time to avoid them reaching the point of no-return.
Offer reassurance, understanding, compassion, comfort, food, or rest as needed.
Sometimes just knowing they are seen and understood can make all the difference.
3. Plan for plenty of Rest throughout the day
Scheduling in rest breaks and down-time to relax in-between activities can really help to avoid toddler tantrums on a summer holiday.
My kids like to stop for some TV time before dinner. This is a routine we have at home while I cook. Although I don’t cook on holiday, we continue this for the routine, but also for the downtime. It helps in restaurants too if we are going there for our evening meal.
A few calm activities throughout the day can help too.
Activities like blowing bubbles in the park, curling up for some stories, an episode of their favourite show, some colouring in together, a walk in the buggy or feeding the ducks, help them to slow down. This helps avoid tantrums.
If you’re looking for some good calming activities, take a look at these Calm Down Activities for some inspiration.
4. Provide opportunities to run off some energy
Toddler Tantrums can occur sometimes due to excess energy and too much sitting or containment. This is a particular problem when travelling on your summer holiday.
Providing an opportunity for your toddler to run around can really help. If running around isn’t feasible, like in a busy airport, consider star jumps or silly dances as an alternative to get that movement break.
5. Self Care for Mom (and Dad!)
This one is more important than any of us probably realise.
Our kids will pick up if we are stressed, or anxious, and it makes them feel stressed and worried too. This can come out as challenging behaviour.
Keeping yourself calm and relaxed can have a great knock on effect for your kids.
If you need some tips for how to get self-care when you have kids then read, How to Practice Self-Care when you have No Time. The majority of these can be done on holiday too.
6. Consider limiting sugar
You know your kid best. Does sugar impact make them hyper?
If so, it might be worth considering limiting the amount of sugary treats they have on holiday, especially at certain times of the day, like bedtime and naptime.
But, I know what it’s like; you’re on holiday with your little one and you want to treat them, spoil them, and give them the best time possible. Treating them is part of that.
So, it’s just something to bear in mind if there are certain times when they are really struggling. This one is really a bit of a balancing act.
7. Water or juice available 24/7
If your toddler is thirsty, then they are far more likely to have a tantrum.
Encouraging them to drink plenty of fluids, especially if it’s hot, is so important for their health; as well as their, and your, happiness on holiday!
8. Heat and Sun
Too much sun can make kids feel really poorly or just plain uncomfortable and irritable. I mean, it does the same to me too really!
Try to avoid being out in the sun for too long when its at its hottest at midday, and make sure your toddler is sun-creamed up, and wearing a sun hat.
9. Avoid Toddler Tantrums on your Summer Holiday by providing Familiar Food
Sometimes the comfort of home can be so soothing.
Depending on where you go on your holiday, the food may not taste the same as at home. It could even be that it is the same food they have at home, but it’s cooked or served slightly differently.
It’s all extra change for our little ones and sometimes something as simple as this can be the final straw when they’ve been holding it together all day.
10. Comfort Objects
When your toddler is over-tired and getting cranky or tearful, it’s always handy to have their comfort object close to hand.
Taking familiar clothes (not all new holiday clothes), and some familiar toys to play with can also help. Too much newness can be very overwhelming when you’re little.
This will of course vary from one kid to the next.
All kids are different. My son can handle late nights on holiday and simply sleeps in the next morning and carries on as normal.
My daughter, on the other hand, will get cranky in the evening if she stays up late. She’ll then wake up at her normal time the next morning and be tired and grumpy all day. For her, it’s just not worth it, unless it’s a one-off special occasion.
If your toddler is like my daughter and needs their sleep, it’s probably worth sticking to regular bedtimes on holiday. Keeping to the same bedtime routine helps us too.
We always take my daughter’s GroClock, from Amazon, on holiday with us. It has been a game-changer for bedtimes, and keeping to these routines on holiday really helps.
We also use these Travel Black out Blinds, from Amazon, to make sure it’s nice and dark to help our little ones sleep.
12. Prepare your Toddler for the Trip
The more prepared your toddler is for their summer holiday, the more relaxed they will be and the easier it is to avoid those toddler tantrums.
Prepare your toddler before the summer holiday takes place. Talk about: what’s going to happen, where you’re going, who with, how you will get there, what you will do there, and when you will be back home.
You could consider making a little book about it with photos of your holiday destination and planned activities so they can visually see what will happen.
13. Avoid Toddler Tantrums on your Summer Holiday by Managing expectations
Many summer holiday meltdowns can be avoided by managing expectations.
Both for our toddlers and ourselves! Make sure your toddler knows what to expect on their summer holiday, but also make sure that your expectations of a holiday with a toddler are realistic!
I know I have been guilty of expecting too much from my kids on holiday at times.
14. Sensory Overload
Depending on where you go on holiday, and your little ones temperament, this could really affect them.
Noise, lights, crowded spaces with people bumping into you, new smells, new tastes, can all affect little people who already feel over-whelmed.
Being aware of this means you can gauge how your little one is handling it all.
Calm down activities can really help if they do get overwhelmed. Calm Down Activities for Your Adopted Child (that you can try right now) has lots of ideas that work well for all kids, including toddlers.
15. Prepare for the Waiting
Let’s face it. There is a fair bit of waiting around on most holidays.
Whether it’s waiting for food in a restaurant, waiting for a ride, event entrance, or just waiting in line for an ice-cream, it’s boring and tedious, and delayed-gratification isn’t exactly a toddlers strong point!
Being prepared mentally with a few easy games to play or activities during these times can really help avoid a tantrum.
It could be a simple as writing a quick note to yourself with a list to refer back to.
I usually carry a few notebooks and pens for drawing, some pots of bubbles, a small story, a fidget toy, and some healthy snacks.
My go-to, no prep, games are, I-spy and humming a song for them to guess.
Sometimes we get out a sheet of paper and ‘make a plan’ for the afternoon or next day. My kids love to help with this and they often illustrate it for me too!
16. Maintain Routines where possible
Routines generally help kids feel secure and calm.
Try to keep important routines the same wherever you can.
Whenever my kids brush their teeth I always sing the tooth brushing verse from the nursery rhyme, ‘Here we go round the Mulberry Bush’. I make sure to keep to this little bedtime routine whilst on holiday too, as it’s a bit of familiarity in the midst of all the newness!
17. Keep that Connection Strong
Lastly, the most important thing, in my opinion, to avoid toddler tantrums anywhere, is connection.
Keeping that connection between you and your toddler strong is vital to help them feel secure and safe on holiday.
Regular cuddles, kisses, smiles, and carrying them that little bit extra when they ask means so much to them. Holding hands, ruffling hair, showing you notice and see them, will give them that extra reassurance that everything is ok.
I’ve managed to avoid many toddler tantrums by noticing when my little ones are starting to get grumpy and giving them an unexpected cuddle, kiss, or tickle.
How to have a Great Summer Holiday with your Toddler
As the holidays approach and you start preparing for your families fun summer holiday, it’s worth saving these tips to help avoid toddler tantrums.
Being prepared is key to avoiding those tantrums and having a great summer holiday with your toddler.
I hope you have a lovely summer and enjoy this precious time with you little one.