Lengthy car trips can be exhausting for everyone, especially for a toddler. They have a lot of energy to walk and run, but on a long trip, they will be sitting in the car for hours and hours! Try these tips on how to take a long trip with a toddler.
Before you hit the road, make sure that everything is prepared. Make sure that your toddler’s car seat is installed properly. Check your car condition, make sure the tires are all alright as well as ensure that brakes and lights are all working. Don’t forget to pack some first-aid kit and essential car safety equipment.
Also, make sure that your phone is fully charged, or else you could bring a portable charger and extra battery. At last, make sure you do not lack sleep because sleep deprivation can cause frazzled nerves and harm you and your toddler. By being rested, you can avoid distractions while driving.
Drive during the night
This might be the easier and most helpful tip that you can follow. You can let your toddler sleep without interrupting their sleeping hours, while you can drive peacefully without worry about feeding your toddler, or listening to them cry. You also can minimize unnecessary stopovers and save your time.
Put your toddler in comfortable clothes
If you are planning to drive during the night time, you may want to consider to put your toddler in their comfy pajamas. By putting comfy clothes on your toddler, it will keep them to be in a good mood.
Bring some toys
If you have to drive during the day instead of during night time, or if your toddler wakes up, give them some new toys can be helpful to distract their boredom or crankiness. New toys are already great to keep a toddler entertained because they are more keen to play with new toys instead of the toys they already have.
Prepare some snacks
Keep plenty of healthy snacks and drink on hand for your toddler and yourself to keep everyone in a good mood. Some ideas for car-friendly snacks including pretzels, granola bars, or bagels. You can also bring some cheese and tubes of yogurt and put them in an insulated bag. Consider dried fruit instead of fresh fruit to avoid sticky mess inside your car.
Split duties during driving
If you are traveling with other adults who can drive, you may want to consider to split duties. While one person drive, the other can help to distribute snacks to children, tell stories, or play some games.
Stop more often during your trips, especially when you have a toddler in the car is important to keep the boredom away from them. You will need to have to stop for diaper changes, feedings and to stretch your legs. Although it might take a longer time to arrive at your destination, you will be less stressed if you stop more often for little or bigger breaks.
Synchronize driving time with your toddler’s routine
Consider about your toddler’s routine such as when they usually eat and sleep in scheduling your driving time. For examples, you may want to leave a little bit early before lunchtime so that your toddler can eat in the car, and they can take a nap in the car after that while you are driving. Prepare anything that will help your toddler settle down to sleep (their pillow, dolls, or favorite music).
You may also prepare your Spotify playlist beforehand. Interestingly, Spotify can be integrated with Waze so you don’t have to switch from one app to the other.
Darken your car’s window
One thing that could interrupt your toddler’s sleep during their trips is when you stop to fill up your gas or to buy something from a mini-market, the lights from outside would shine down right into your toddler’s face which can wake them up. Be creative and use something to cover the window. You can use a towel or small blanket and roll them up in the window.
However, if you don’t drive during the night, then you perhaps don’t want to block your toddler’s view from seeing outside through the window.