How to Survive a Road Trip with a Toddler
Parents who love road trips can find ways to travel with toddlers so that everyone is happy. There are many potential challenges, since lengthy travel in a car may be completely different from the norm. Toddlers may be too young to understand what’s going on, and the change in schedule can make them irritable. The fact is that there should be some careful planning when traveling with babies, toddlers, or older children of any size and age. Arguably, toddlers are the most difficult age group, since small infants usually sleep a lot, anyway, and older children should know better than to make big fusses.
Tips for Taking a Road Trip with a Toddler
Plan Car Entertainment
Most children are accustomed to being entertained by televisions, tablets, computers, and smartphones. If there’s nothing in the car that’s fun, the little ones can get antsy very quickly. An antsy toddler is not a pleasant travel partner. Each child should have entertainment all packed and ready for them when the trip is underway. Toddler entertainment may include age-appropriate videos, but bring along plenty of new surprises for the journey. At different intervals, when the little one is getting restless, pull out another little treat or toy.
Make your Toddler Comfy-Cozy
Being strapped into a car seat can feel anything but comfortable. Bring your child’s favorite blanket and a toddler pillow for the ride. Dress your toddler in comfortable pajamas or favorite clothes for the trip. Place a few favorite plush toys within reach. To block harsh sunlight, put an extra screen on the window.
Plan Around Naps
With careful planning, you can make sure toddler naps aren’t interrupted by major stops, such as to eat or visit a roadside attraction. Nap times are the best part of road trips with toddlers. You can relax, breathe easy, and stay facing forward the entire time your not-always-so-angelic little angel is snoozing.
Make Peace a Priority
A road trip may not be the official family vacation, but it’s at least a getaway in which everyone deserves a break from daily structure. Be flexible and relax the usual rules so that the kids can totally enjoy the journey. Of course, it’s best to put boundaries on such things as unhealthy snacking, especially sugar consumption, but let the kids enjoy their favorite sugary and salty snacks. And you may be a family that doesn’t allow the little ones to be entertained with electronic devices, but you could make an exception on road trips.
Go Heavy on the Snacks
Bring a wide variety of snacks for the kids. Although they will be thrilled if you sprinkle some sugar snacks in the mix, other great snack ideas include the following:
- Raisins / yogurt raisins
- Animal crackers
- Cheese sticks
- Yogurt pouches
- Apple slices
Plan on Regular Restroom Stops
Good planning begins with having older kids use the restroom before leaving and changing little ones’ diapers just before setting out on a family road trip. Remember that it’s good for the kids to stay hydrated, but avoid giving them an excessive amount of drinks, since restroom stops could become frustratingly frequent. Keep in mind that children have smaller bladders and make stops as needed.
Confidently Plan your Road Trip with your Toddler
Parents planning a road trip with a toddler should, most importantly, relax and keep a positive attitude. Expect the best and you’ll have a better trip than if you are gritting your teeth and expecting the worse. Toddlers can be great travel companions, and who knows? You could be one of the lucky ones with a travel-friendly toddler.