Going on a Road Trip with toddlers can be scary. But it can also be a blast!!!! And, it can be SO much easier than it sounds! With a little bit of planning ahead you and your toddler will have a blast on your road trip! And you will totally survive with your sanity in check!!! Try some of these simple, tips to survive a road trip with toddlers!!
Before you even start your trip, figure out a way to stay organized! This Back Seat Car Organizer has kinda been a life saver for me!I am constantly reaching back into the back to hand a snack, give a binkie, clean up a spill, kiss a boo boo etc….being organized and using an organizer in the car makes it SO much easier. Especially if your toddler can reach the organizer. My son can reach most of the stuff in his organizer and he knows when he is finished with something he needs to hand it back to me. Keeping organized on a trip keeps my sanity and makes life a whole lot easier. This product definitely helped with that!!! Whether you choose to use an organizer, tupperware, baggies etc…find a way that works for you to keep your car clean and organized during the drive. Make sure you have a bag set aside for garbage!
Invest in some novel toys
New toys just may save your life on a road trip! When I say this, I don’t mean go out and spend a fortune on the latest and greatest gadgets!!! By going to the dollar store, or buying a handful of cheap, new toys you will keep your child entertained for that much longer! A new toy that your child hasn’t seen before will get your kid excited in a dull situation!!! Tip: Do NOT pull out all the new toys in the beginning of your car ride!!!! Wait as long as you can until you pull out new toys! Give them one item at a time. This will lengthen the time between those horrible moments of boredom!
Car approved art tools
Let’s talk art in the car…..art in the car can be scary!!!! But, with a few quick tips you can have your toddler happily enjoying art in the car and you not pulling your hair out! Triangular crayons are a MUST in the car. They are triangle shaped so…drum roll please….they don’t roll!!!!!! I SUPER love these Triangular Crayons from Melissa and Doug! They come in an awesome case that is easy for those chubby little fingers to get in and out of.
Other great tools for art in the car:
- Crayola Color Wonder Markers and Paper these only write on specific paper and wont get all over your car!
- Play Doh and Simple Tools (See tips under “Use a Tray)
- Doodle Pad
- Dry Erase Travel Packs
Set reasonable expectations
Ok, So what do I mean by this? Well…You don’t want to go into a 10 hour car ride thinking you are going to make it half way there in 5 hours. Set reasonable expectations. Know and understand that a 10 hour road trip with toddlers is probably going to turn out to be about 15 (or more). If you know and expect that, you are less likely to get frustrated and agitated that you aren’t making it as far as you would like to. Make a destination goal, not a time goal. Make sure your destination is doable. Don’t plan to push yourselves too far. Pushing to go too far will make a grumpy toddler, grumpy parents and overall grumpy ride! Leave at a reasonable time that will have you arriving at a reasonable time. If you can, plan for a good sit down meal and some fun to reward your toddler (and yourself!) for surviving that days travel. If you get into a destination late, tired and grumpy the next day of travel is going to be even harder!
Expect to Stop….A lot!!!
This goes hand in hand with setting reasonable expectations! Just accept the fact that you will be stopping a lot if you plan to have toddlers on a road trip. Especially if you have toddlers who are potty trained! Potty breaks are inevitable. Even with diapers. When you gotta go, you gotta go! Every time you stop make sure everyone in the car stops for a potty break (including adults) and all diapers changed. Even if you just stopped an hour ago! If you are going to stop you might as well do it all in one to try and lengthen the time between stops. (Atleast make sure everyone tries to go potty).
Plan your stops around fun
If you can at all help it, plan your stops around fun places. Try to find fast food places with play places or grassy areas to run around or a park near by. Or, get food and take it to a park near by. Plan 30 minutes to an hour to let your kids run around and get all their wiggles out. Will it add time? YES! But it just may save your sanity. Stop, grab some ice cream or a treat and hop back on the road. You will thank yourself later!
Use a tray
You are a lot less limited with your activities if your child has a tray to use on their lap. They can color, do play-doh, eat snacks with less of a mess, play toys etc…. You can find tons of fun ideas on Pinterest as far as DIY trays go. The tray I have found to be the most useful and take up less space is the Children’s Snack and Play Tray. They are super compact, soft for safety and they work great. Not to mention they have plenty of storage room!
Don’t be afraid to use technology
I don’t love a lot of screen time…but…I’ll be the first to admit the DVD player in the car SAVED our 10 hour road trip. If you have means to technology…USE IT! It will break up your trip, relax your kids (maybe they will fall asleep?), save your sanity with a bit of peace and quiet and pass the time more quickly!! I don’t suggest your whole 10 hour road trip being a big movie marathon…but seriously…life saver!
Car safe snacks…a lot of them!
Pack plenty of car safe snacks! You are less likely to stop and cram your kids full of junk at every gas station if you have good healthy snacks in the car. Make sure you are thinking about the mess a snack will make if spilled. Tiny things make big messes as well as anything that melts! So try for snacks that won’t spoil, make big spills or melt.
Pack the Pull-ups
If your child is still wearing diapers or pull ups at nap, make sure you have pull-ups for the car. The last thing you want is your child falling asleep and having an accident. (This happened to my son on our road trip and it was a disaster.) Their carseat will be wet, they will be wet and everyone will be miserable! Throw on a pull up if you child is getting tired to prevent any accidents! Remind your child that they still need to potty in the potty but have a pull up on incase they want to take a nap!
And last but not least…HAVE FUN!!!!!!