Many families are opting to drive long distances for their vacation or holiday trips in lieu of the lower fuel prices across the globe. While this sounds like a novel idea at first, once the thought of driving for more than three hours with a toddler in your vehicle starts to sink in, you may be scratching your head. Not to worry, it is possible to travel by car with kiddos with very little effort.
- Get some form of electronics to use as backup; you may not want your kids tuned into an iPad or watching videos the whole trip, but as a last resort when they simply cannot handle one more mile in the car it does work wonders. Portable DVD players are relatively inexpensive these days, and kids can even watch most of their favorite television shows via You Tube on Mom or Dad’s smartphone as well. If you have a vehicle with video screens already in it, you can always pick up a $5.00 DVD at Target that they have never seen, this at least opens their attention span longer than a film they have seen over and over.
- Pack a bag of things to keep them busy. Washable markers, crayons, a new coloring book, or puzzle (large pieces or puzzle boards only) they can work with easily in the car without making a huge mess. Those books with all of the buttons and zippers on them can add on at least 30 minutes of peace and quiet.
- Anything that a child can use to keep their hands busy while on a long car trip is key. Buy a box of ravioli noodles and thick string; they can make noodle necklaces and even color them with washable markers once they have it all strung through. You can also use beads of all shapes and colors from craft shops, or buy a kit at a large department store. Just ensure that the pieces are not too small that your little one will not suffer any choking hazards from them.
- If you have a car full of boys (which I usually do having 4 sons)- picking up some trinkets at the dollar store is a must. I grabbed things like toy snakes, science books that have loads of cool pictures, iSpy books, glow in the dark necklaces for nighttime driving, and even a toy gun that had a soft ball attached to the end by a string so they never had to look for their ball. They found these items rather amusing for quite some time.
You have to put yourself in a toddler’s shoes when traveling, they have no idea where they are going or why. They just want to be entertained, and if you can make the journey more pleasurable for them, the adults will have a much smoother ride with less stress.