No wait, don’t go away. It is possible. I know what you are thinking. Crazy lady who purposefully takes her kids on long car trips. Well, you might have something there, but I swear I have been doing it for about 4 1/2 years now and it ain’t so bad.
Here is the deal, the hubby and I love road trips. We did before we had kids and aren’t ones to let a few kids change our life in any way (yeah right). So we pack them up and head for the open road. And, SHOCKER, until about a year ago we didn’t have any sort of DVD entertainment. It was just us shoving books and food at them. So here are a few tips to enjoy a road trip, planned or otherwise, with your toddlers.
- Buy a few new, novel items for the trip: It doesn’t have to be expensive or even all that exciting, just new. For this trip, my wonderful mother did this part for me and game over with a few new books (and a tin full of her delicious homemade molasses cookies) for the trip. Present the new things when the stir crazies begin to set in.
- Research your route: If you do this you may find a really cool stop along the way that happens to be positioned right around mile “meltdown.” Suddenly your kids are unbuckled from their prisons stretching their legs at a lookout over Lake Superior. This isn’t all that exciting, but they don’t care cause they are free.
- Don’t be afraid to be goofy: Maybe you can’t sing a note. Your kids don’t care, they still want to hear you sing Wheels on the Bus 12 times in a row. Today I cranked up some classic rock on the radio and we had a rock band. Even little Hannah (almost 2) was playing air-tambourine. We were all giggling up a storm. The people next to us…yeah, they thought we were escapies from a mental hospital.
- Time travels with naps/bedtimes: This is actually hit or miss. Lily was out right on schedule, but Hannah refused to fall asleep and ended up staying up 2 hours past her bed time. If you are going to employ this tactic, run them ragged during the day so they are tuckered out.
- Go Old School: Our parents didn’t have DVD players. Nor did they use car seats (as I am frequently reminded) so all of the things we did in the car aren’t exactly doable (like falling asleep in the back window, but a lot of them are. License Plate Game, Alphabet Game, Car Bingo, Scavenger Hunts. Don’t think that your toddler can’t do some of these. This woman is brilliant. Head over and get some of her printables.
- Don’t be afraid to use food to quiet your children: They can’t whine and complain when they are shoveling food in their face. We pack granola bars, dried fruit and string cheese (and those molasses cookies-yum) so it isn’t horribly unhealthy gas station food. Would not recommend this tip if your child has a tendency towards car sickness however. Then again, I am pretty sure I wouldn’t recommend road trips in general is this is the case.
We have had 2 three hour trips in the last 2 days on our way to Niagara and they have been virtually problem free. And only 1 hour of those has been spent with a DVD in so I know this is possible people. Any other car tips you have I would love to hear them cause we got 2 more 3 hour stretches before spring break is over. And by then, even the food one might not be working.
For more tips head over to Rocks in my Dryer.