Just because you have small kids doesn’t mean you can’t hit the open road; with some key tips for a road trip with a toddler in mind, you can have a successful adventure and lifelong memories. When our son was two, we decided to take a road trip from our home in New York to Texas. Our friends and family thought we were nuts for taking such a long trip with such a young child, but we had some tricks up our sleeves, and our trip was a total success. So, pack up the car and get ready to enjoy an adventure with your little ones with these tips for a road trip with a toddler.
1. Pack Snacks
My first of many tips for a road trip with a toddler is to pack snacks, and plenty of them. Kids get hungry fast, and when they are hungry, a meltdown is imminent. When you’re on the road, it can be hard to pull over to grab something to eat, and frankly, you may not be ready for a meal. Not to mention that constant stopping can make your trip even longer. So, pack some easy to eat snacks and have them easily accessible. You – and your little one – will be thankful.
2. Bring a Comfort Item
If your toddler has a comfort item, like a blanket, a favorite teddy bear or whatever, bring it along. You’re little one may freak out if he doesn’t have his comfort item nearby at home; imagine what it will be like if you forget it on a road trip!
Take along some car-friendly activities. Set up a tray across his lap in the car seat and give him some toys, some crayons and paper or a book. This will allow him to stay occupied and give you some peace and quiet.
4. Bring a Portable Television
No, a TV isn’t a babysitter, but on a road trip, it can be a lifesaver. Set up a portable television and put on your child’s favorite movie. It will really keep him happy. You don’t have to put it on the entire time, but a movie here and there won’t kill him.
5. Take Breaks
You simply MUST take breaks when you’re on a road trip with a toddler. You know how you get cramped and need to stretch; well, imagine being stuck in a car seat. Every two to three hours, pull over and stretch. Grab some ice cream or let him run around an open field.
6. Eat Meals
In addition to stopping to stretch, stop to eat meals. We packed picnic lunches on our road trip, and they were great. Not only was I able to make sure my little one ate healthy, but we ate healthy, too. Plus, our picnics gave us a chance to enjoy the beauty of the area we were traveling through. I highly recommend this.
7. Take Naps
A nap is a toddler's (and his parents') best friend. Make the car as conducive to taking naps as possible. Lower the volume of your music, make sure the temperature is comfortable and maybe give him a blanket to encourage a nap here and there.
8. Don’t Overdo It
Don’t push your toddler to the limit. Stop for the night before he even starts to show signs of being done with being in the car. Going over his limit will result in major meltdowns and major headaches.
We used each of these tips for a successful road trip with our little guy. He was happy, and so were we. Have you taken a road trip with a toddler? What worked for you?