We took love bug on a mini-vacation last weekend. To be honest, I was dreading it. It had been at least a year since we drove a substantial distance with him, and I was concerned our overly-energetic toddler would be bored within the first hour (I was right).
However, he ultimately did SO WELL, because of mommy’s preparation. Here are eight things we couldn’t do without on the road.
doodle boards: this was the first thing we pulled out when little love bug turned into a contorting Houdini. (“Mom, out! I’m stuck!”) These no-mess, magnetic drawing boards are a lifesaver. He’d draw animals (you know, oodles of lines), show it off, then go back to it. He even took requests! (draw a cow for mommy…)
whether it’s simply holding them, or leafing through, books can entertain your child for minutes or hours. A car (and bedtime) favorite was “Goodnight, Moon.” I ended up reciting it from the front seat, as he flipped through the pages in the back. It’s a bit sad that I have that—and others—memorized, but he was pleased nonetheless.
love bug has a few faves that seem to make their way into every car ride (yes, even the five minute commute to school). Puppy, Elmo and two puppets: Mr. Moo and Mr. Roar (shown above). He also has a “dog carrier” that he would put them into then take them out of. Kids have a thing for filling and dumping, and he was able to keep that activity going for a good while.
snacks/drinks: do NOT pull out of the driveway without food! Inevitably, they’ll get hungry when there’s not a stop in sight. And I know the last thing YOU want is a diaper change every hour, but they need to be kept hydrated. If you’re lucky, they’ll drink themselves right into a nap.
plenty of stops:
just because YOU want to power through the drive, doesn’t mean they can. The best thing to keep your toddler going is to stop every few hours to let them run around and recharge.
whether you keep a few CDs on hand, or simply sing to them in the car, keeping their minds on something other than being strapped down is important for their—and your—sanity.
DVDs: I swore we’d never resort to this, but we did. And boy, am I glad. Now that love bug is at the age where he can be entertained by a full-length feature, it helped us all pass some time. (Huge thanks to my mom for getting us a portable DVD player last year!)
above all else, you need to be patient with your child. They’re not used to being tethered down for hours, and may not understand why or where they’re going. They may whine, kick and scream, so you need to muster the patience to get through it. They are voicing their frustrations in the only way they know how; be understanding of that. It will make your trip that much easier.
What do you rely on when road/sky trippin' with a toddler?