Since the Peanut was 18 months old she has cherished her Bear and her white minky blankie from her Baptism day. These two security lovies are never far away when she is at home. From very early days we established a strict,
never one-time broken rule:
Bear and Blankie do NOT leave the house.
They don't come on car trips. They never visit restaurants. They aren't even allowed to travel to Grandma's house after 1 single time we broke the rule and they were accidentally left behind. (Yes, Grandma drove them 45 minutes our way so we wouldn't have to face a night without them.)
So when we were planning our week to Orlando last year, the Peanut started to fret and repeatedly ask me, "But do Bear and Blankie get to come to Disney World, too?"
She knew the answer before I responded and her eyes were always teary at the thought of leaving these lovies behind for an entire week.
I didn't want their absence to cause sleep troubles on the road or, worse, spoil the experience for the Peanut but I was not willing to risk one of them being left on an airplane or in a hotel room.
Thus the introduction of the Traveling Bear & Blankie program. Bear, in his precise size & measurements, is irreplaceable. I've hunted and hunted. The closest I was able to find was another Corduroy toy from Amazon. He is smaller and more petite than the Original so there is absolutely no confusing the two. The Peanut quickly dubbed him "Bear's Little Brother."
As far as Blankie went, after the single failed trip to Grandma's my mom had purchased a second minky blanket to be left only at her house for visits. We had to ask special permission for the blue blankie to travel with us to Florida as our back-up.
It worked like a charm. We had several chats leading up to the trip about how Little Brother would be coming with us and Bear would wait patiently at home, tucked safe and sound in the Peanut's bed. I don't remember there being a single peep about Bear during the trip but I do remember the Peanut running to her room first thing when we got home afterwards.
If your little one has a precious lovey, I'd highly recommend this approach.
- Introduce the proposed replacement several weeks before the trip. Bear and Bear's Little Brother both slept with the Peanut for several weeks before we left.
- Don't try to sneak the replacement. They will KNOW. Better to be upfront about it.
- Pick a replacement that is also easily replaced! I'm lucky to have the option for several Corduroy replacements thanks to Amazon. If your back-up is tricky to replace, I'd instill a "Never leaves the car/hotel room" rule.
The biggest benefit of Traveling Bear is that it makes our trip that much more thrilling for the Peanut. SUCH the rare occasion that he is let out of the house to enjoy an adventure with us.
Does your little one have a lovey? Did she attach to a hard-to-find replacement like we have?
P.S. This is the first of several posts about traveling that will be featured on my site this summer. I'm thrilled to be participating in the Melissa & Doug "On the Go" campaign to bring you family-friendly ideas for getting your kids out into the world for adventure. I hope you'll follow along in the coming weeks.
If you're interested in family travel, you may also enjoy the following Pinterest boards I host:
Wanderlust: How to inspire your children to explore the world and make family travel a fun game.
Road Trippin': Road trip-specific survival tricks and tips for families.