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May 7, 2012 / tlsomm

Just Can’t Wait to Get on the Road Again… (Actually, I Can Wait!)

Road Trip

In just a few days, we’re going to take our very first long car trip with our toddler.  If we drove straight with no stops, it would take us 8 hours so with a toddler I’m guessing… what, 15?  Will it be horrible?  My daughter has never been fond of long car rides.  When she was an infant, it was not uncommon to see me pulled over on the side of the road trying to console her on even a 30 minute drive.  She was never the type to sit happily in a bouncer or swing whether I was in sight or not.  I’m overdue to write a thank you note to the makers of the Moby wrap, as I wore it every day for months with her in it.  But that’s another story.

We’ve already taken cross-country plane trips and they went well since the only required sitting is take-off and landing.  I do have some travel experience, but car travel is much scarier!

When she was 18 months old we endured a 3.5 hour road trip with 2 hours worth of crying, 1 hour of napping, and 45 minutes of content awake time.  You see now why I worry?

I’m going to share tidbits of information I’ve found to keep a toddler entertained and satisfied on long trips:

  1. Food.  Lots of different snacks.  Non-messy ones preferably.  No yogurt!  Crackers, peas, tofu, string cheese, fruit, and a few emergency M&Ms.
  2. Books.  We’re at the age where Nora craves books.  I’ll likely bring 15 different books along.
  3. Toys.  I read that you should have 1 new toy for every hour of travel and this proved a good formula when we took a cross-country plane trip.  I shop in Target’s dollar section and pick up anything from stickers, multi-colored craft puff balls, slinkys,
  4. Drive during nap times.  Nora is down to 1 afternoon nap, so our plan is to eat and early lunch and hit the road.  An hour or two of awake time followed by 2-3 hour nap time.  Stop for dinner, stretch, run, play, and back in to finish the trip.  Stop as needed.
  5. Advice abounds to have a DVD player along.  I’m not one for tv or cartoons, but they do have their place.  We’ll probably cue up some Curious George episodes as our last resort for peace.

Remember, new new new!  Bring along items or foods that your child has never seen before (or at least something you moved out of rotation long enough ago that it’s new again).

I realize there will be some tears shed and I accept that.  Hopefully now that she is a bit older and more engaged with the world around her, we can hold her interest long enough to get us to our destination in one piece.

Did I miss anything?  What can you suggest for a successful road trip with young children?

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One Comment

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  1. Sleeping Mom / May 7 2012 6:34 pm

    Frequent breaks! Every hour they say. But yeah you pretty much listed all the stuff that would work with my kiddo!

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