Thursday, October 20, 2011

Toddlers on long car rides

So I promised you all a post on tips for long distance traveling with a toddler and here it is:

When you have a young toddler (remember this is on my own experience and Gorgeous is 14mo) it’s tempting to leave them in the car seat like you could when they were babies. Here’s the thing though: as much as sitting in a car that long hurts your bottom, imagine how much it hurts your little one’s bottom when they just discovered mobility! It’s tough being constrained when you just learned the freedom of movement.

Get your toddler out of the car seat every time you get out of your seat. EVERY time! If you can, allow them to walk around a bit, even if it’s holding your hand in a parking lot. If you can’t, at least the change of position will help them feel better.
Toddlers also are usually somewhere in the potty training stage so be prepared to stop often! While you should never limit fluids like we may be tempted to do, always plan your stops to try to coincide with a potty break. Bring along a small portable potty if you can for those quick “I got to go now!” moments. If you haven’t ventured into the potty training stage then bring lots of extra diapers and covers (if you use cloth like me) as well as a few outfit changes and plan to stop at least once an hour for diaper changes.

Always bring lots of toys with you! Bring enough to cycle through as they get bored and try to get some “new” toys for entertainment. A new toy to a toddler could simply be a toy she hasn’t seen in a few days! So hide those toys to cycle them through, parents!
Lastly, we all need to eat. So be sure to bring along snacks and main meals that are less mess foods. We brought bananas, sausage, cheese sticks, pretzel sticks, and a few “toddler” foods from the baby aisle as a treat for her. We stopped for lunch at Safeway and dinner was fast food (I know, not the greatest but if you can limit your fast food consumption to one meal the entire trip you are doing great!).

So I want to hear from you. What are your tips for keeping the young kiddos happy on long car rides? Admittedly, Gorgeous is a very mild mannered, well behaved toddler so I don’t have to deal with a lot of tantrums and such. She’s also an only child so we don’t have siblings to deal with. So, readers, help me out here!

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