26th March 2018

How to take the train alone with a baby/ toddler and survive

Maternity leave/ having a small child is actually a really brilliant time to see the area around you and go on adventures. And a train is exciting as it gets for them, So don’t be shy; Susie Verrill gives some tips on travelling.

I don’t drive, I have to plump for public transport, but so often I’m told by other mums that they still haven’t ‘plucked up the courage’ to try it alone. And it’s such a shame! Because, honestly… it’s so easy. It’s easy once you know how and it’s easy once you stop worrying that you’re really, really annoying everyone around you. Here’s some ways in which you can get from A to B without losing your cool…

  • Firstly, and this is hugely important, don’t be too proud to literally ask people for help. You can give a pretty good hint by sighing in the direction of strangers or looking perplexed but honestly, just ASK. No-one’s going to not help a mum mount a train with a huge buggy.
  • Use your surroundings. What’s outside? Trees, cows, horses, clouds. Anything will do, just get them looking at it.
  • Bring distractions but don’t faff with toys. Sure, some are fine; but if you’re already laden with a changing bag, buggy and baby then you don’t need excess ‘stuff’. Bring along one book and one toy and then just let your little one go to town on whatever’s around. A shoe, your purse, your glasses case.
  • Don’t be too proud to download some episodes of your child’s favourite show on to your phone and play them. I used to fire up YouTube but, er… hello tunnels and awful wifi connection. One solitary episode will do, just have it as backup.
  • Snacks! All the snacks. Savoury, sweet and a drink to finish off. Straws, for some reason, seem to take up a LOT of attention.
  • If you’re on a train, consider not sitting down and instead, hang out near the doors/loos. It means you’re not restricted to sitting in one place so your child won’t get fussy and noisy around other passengers, you can ordinarily just leave them in the buggy.
  • Keep old tickets; kids love to play with/nibble them. If you have a pen, let them scribble too.
  • Do your research; which stations have lifts? Which don’t? Which have baby changing facilities?
  • If you can find someone friendly at the train station who works there, do so. Tell them where you’re going and they will either help you, or give you a heads up as to which platform you need to be lingering near. I do it all the time with the Virgin staff at Euston and they’re so obliging. They want to help.

You will get in the way and it will make you feel dithery and anxious, but try to remember you have as much right to travel as anyone else PLUS you’re being a total bad-ass. Look at you! Travelling alone, getting things done and being sassy. You’re the independent women Destiny’s Child sang about. Screw the other folk; they just need to sit and make sure they haven’t lost their ticket.

@mushmums @susiejverrill

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