Five Tips Friday: Using public transport with a toddler

It can be hard enough traveling with a toddler, but navigating a public transport system with one can induce panic in most parents. How much of a struggle it is really depends on the reliability and comfort of the public transport services where you live. Some cities have fantastic systems in place, even if it gets a little crowded. In other places, however, you're probably better off hailing a cab!

When you're confident enough to travel on public transport with a toddler, the tips below could help make the journey a smooth one.

Tips for using public transport with a toddler in tow.

1. Take them well-rested.

Sleep is the difference between your toddler being cranky and adorable! Try to squeeze in a little nap. Or plan your travel in the morning or after a daytime nap, if possible. Taking the bus or metro/subway can mean a lot of walking, so you want your child be well rested.

2. Make sure you know the timetable and routes.

Always plan ahead! Look at maps and routes online so you know exactly where to go. Note down everything from arrival times to exits to take, and even alternate routes should you need to take one.

3. Don't forget the snacks.

Toddlers need to be fed frequently to keep them happy. Take along small healthy snacks such as fruit or biscuits. This also helps pass the time, and keeps their energy going. Avoid sugary treats because you don't want too much energy!

4. Consider whether you really need a stroller.

Most parents with toddlers prefer using a stroller, but consider whether you really need to take it along. Does your toddler fight it, and do you end up pushing the stroller and handling your child? I've reduced my dependency on the stroller as I find it faster to use the escalator with my toddler. It also takes up more space when you get into the bus or train. On the other hand, it your child likes sitting and napping in the stroller, it's worth the effort.

5. Carry small toys or books.

Distractions work so well with toddlers, so take along a few. Make them really small, though, or you'll have a bulging bag! It would be even better if you could keep some toys and books especially for travel so that they have something to look forward too.

If you found these tips useful, you may also want to see my tips on traveling by plane with a toddler.

Five Tips Friday is a series of posts on five quick tips 
about parenting, blogging, social media, travel, or just about anything!

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Nina G said...

Very practical Tarana! I may not be the best person to comment since we hardly take public transport (LA and all) but I agree about planning ahead. We've taken the bus a few times to big city events where parking would just be too hectic. So I make sure to map the routes and double-check the times the bus is arriving.

Tarana said...

Thanks Nina. The public transport in Dubai is excellent, and very child friendly, so I actually prefer that over a drive!

Research Parent said...

These are excellent suggestions. I especially agree with #4. Now that I have 3 kids, I frequently bring a lightweight umbrella stroller and a carrier. I usually put the 1 year old in the stroller unless the 3 year old gets fussy, in which case I put her in the stroller and the baby in the carrier. I've seen so many people bring giant strollers on trains and it just seems like more effort than it's worth.

Research Parent said...

I'm near LA too and my kids LOVE the Metrolink. It's where my son wants to "go" for his 6th birthday. I wish it weren't so expensive or we'd use it more often.

Tarana said...

Giant strollers are a real pain when there's limited space. But lighter strollers can be a life saver with two kids!

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