Earlier on this year, Hubs and I were invited to The Deep in Hull. We were so excited to take the kids on a day trip, so excited in fact that somewhere along the way we decided it would be a good idea to make a weekend out of it. It went something along the lines of ‘Hey let’s get a hotel and go to the beach too, the kids will love it’. Oh the naivety! OK, so it wasn’t all bad. The kids did love it and The Deep was amazing. The whole weekend was definitely a learning curve though, so much so that I won’t be staying in a hotel with toddlers again any time soon!
Here are five things you need to know, before you decide to stay in a hotel with toddlers;
It will only be novel for the first ten minutes –
We got in the car with smiles right across our faces. The weather was fine, we were going to seaside and we were going to eat fish and chips on the beach. I bought DVD players for the car, it was the easiest long car journey we’ve EVER had. Things were going good, we’d totally cracked this parenting thing. We had a really good day on the beach, the kids were so happy and completely tired themselves out. All we had to do now was head back to the hotel, grab some dinner and settle down for the night, simple!
My first mistake? Letting the kids have a 15 minute nap in the car on the way to the hotel. My second? Believing that the novelty of the hotel would surely keep them entertained for one whole evening. Well, after ten minutes we were well into the witching hour, the hotel stopped being fun and turned into a prison cell! The kids didn’t want to be cooped up in one room and whatever we did to try to settle them down failed miserably. Bedtime came and went, with no sign of any sleepers in the room.
Forget the idea that you’re going to get a good nights sleep –
When it got to one hour after their normal bedtime, we assumed that this wakefulness couldn’t go on for much longer. They must have been tired, they hadn’t stopped all day. Two hours over bedtime and they were still going strong. Three hours, you guessed it, we’d still not slept a wink. Finally, FIVE hours after their normal bedtime and they crashed! Who needs sleep anyway?
You need to be mindful of the snacks you give the kids –
We’d had fish and chips for lunch, so we decided that the best thing to get for dinner was a picnic. One that we could eat in the hotel room whilst watching the CBeebies Bedtime Hour. This one we really didn’t think through. Crisps, crackers, blackcurrant Fruit Shoots and cookies are not good hotel room food. We’d been there less than an hour and the floor looked like we’d been squatting there for weeks.
Don’t underestimate the power of electronic entertainment –
Our girls like a bit of TV, but they soon get bored. When they’re at home they can move on to the many toys we have dotted around or head out into the garden. When you’re in a hotel room, you don’t have the luxury of five cupboards jam-packed with toys. I realised that night that I’d made a vital mistake in not buying our girls iPads. Adamant that they’re too young for things like that, I’ve not given in to technology for them. I take it all back. iPads can be the best babysitters, I only wish I’d known it before!
Don’t spend a fortune on fancy toddler beds –
In my excitement on the run up to our trip, I decided it would make life much easier if we didn’t have to cart travel cots around. So I bought two ReadyBeds, which look fabulous for the littles and they are a great buy. However, unlike the travel cot they allow the kids to get out of bed whenever they like. It was a free for all, trying to get them into bed and to sleep was an impossible task. The moral of the story? Keep them sleeping in cots as long as you can!