This adventure saw our youngest child aged three.
On reflection it is at this age that some things become easier, gone are naps, nappies and prams but you also have to allow for a lot of flexibility as far as tiredness, determination and moods go!
Here are our top tips:
- Reduce expectations. Gone are the days of cramming in activities from dawn to dusk! Be happy if you get one outing and limited tantrums.
- Schedule pool time. It was the hottest month in Laos and a pool was a necessity. We would have two swims a day which kept Woody happy and allowed us all to cool off.
- Reduce travel speed. Once you slow down to three year old walking pace you get to experience a lot that you may have missed. You get to talk to more people and make new friends.
- Stock up on favourite snacks and drinks. Woody is not as adventurous with his food like his siblings. He’s happy if there is a steady supply of strawberry milk and biscuits. We always had these handy at airports, on the train and by the pool. We encouraged all efforts of trying something new.
- Praise all efforts made to say hello to new faces. It’s beautiful the response kids get when they say hello and please in the local language. Encourage politeness but also understand that kids may get annoyed with the costant attention, arm and cheek squeezing and touching of golden locks.
- Take small adventures in new vehicles. The experience of getting from A to B was enough of an outing if it involved a tuk tuk, push bike or motorbike. Woody loved the journey as much as the destination.
- Join in activities with local kids. My kids loved swimming in the river at sunset in Vang Vieng and running through the markets with kids in Vientiane. Having kids opens up so many conversations with both locals and other tourists. Language is often a barrier but hand gestures and facial expressions go along way.
- Bring along notepads, stickers and a favourite toy for the plane and waiting around airports. iPads are also great filled with favourite short tv shows to hold interest. Lollipops are also great for take off and landing as well as waiting in Immigration queues.
- Tag team parental repsonsibility. We always try and get a morming or afternoon alone to explore while one of us stays with the kids. This allows the kids to rest around the hotel.
- Our kids were welcomed everywhere we went. We went for family massages, temples and out for dinner and the kids were always greeted warmly. Don’t be afraid to get and and try everything even with kids in tow!