A road trip is a perfect excuse to escape the stress of everyday life while enjoying a change of scenery. Whether you plan to visit relatives or hope to explore a new part of the country, it’s never a bad time to pack your car and set off on an exciting journey. After all, your new memories aren’t going to make themselves.
However, the game changes significantly when you have a toddler in tow. Planning your ideal getaway with your little one on your mind may make things more difficult than you expected. Toddlers are notoriously messy, noisy, and stubborn, which are all traits that can conflict with your road trip plans. Whether your toddler starts crying after the 1-hour mark or complains about how hungry they are, there are numerous obstacles that you might face when watching over a small child during your trip
Fortunately, arriving at your destination with your sanity intact can be more doable than you think. To make the most of your next road trip while ensuring that you and your munchkin stay happy and safe, all you need to do is prepare properly. Here are some tried and true tips for surviving your next journey on the road with your toddler in the backseat.
- Bring Snacks
You’ve been cruising along the highway for a grand total of 40 minutes when you hear those dreaded words: “I’m hungry, Mommy!” In a panic, you search the car for something that your toddler can munch on, only to come up empty-handed.
This scenario is something that no parent wants to find themselves in. Luckily, avoiding it is easy. Make sure that you bring along all of your child’s favorite snacks before you drive off. To ensure that your toddler is satisfied with your food choices, let them pick out whatever snacks they want. Be sure to include something sweet in the mix to keep them content for a while. While you’re at it, pack the best sippy cup to give your little one something refreshing to wash down their food with
- Play Some Tunes
No road trip is complete without music. If you haven’t done so already, put together a playlist of family-friendly tunes to play throughout the trip. Whether you choose classic favorites like The Beatles or mainstream (but appropriate!) pop hits, filling the car with tunes is a pleasant and effective way to soothe your child. Plus, when you have good music to accompany your driving, the miles can go by a lot faster.
- Play Games
If you aren’t the one driving, you can keep your toddler busy by entertaining her during the trip. There are plenty of children’s games that you can choose from to help pass the time for both of you. If you prefer something simple, you can play Simon Says or Patty Cake with your little one. Otherwise, there are endless toys and games for toddlers that you can pack with you, from doodle games to race cars. However, make sure that none of the toys you choose contain small parts that may pose a choking hazard.
- Read to Your Toddler
Every child loves storytime, and a road trip is a great opportunity to read to your little one. With countless children’s classics to choose from, it’ll be hard to fit enough reading into the drive. However, you can start with some favorites, such as “Goodnight Moon,” “The Giving Tree,” “The Very Hungry Caterpillar,” or “Green Eggs and Ham.” Just hearing your voice as you read will help to calm your child down. Your toddler might even be lulled to sleep before you reach the end of the story!
- Take Breaks
Generally speaking, it’s best to stick to short trips when you have your little one with you. However, if you need to take an extended road trip for any reason, be sure to break it up into manageable chunks. Make plenty of pit stops and stock up on food and water whenever you can. Additionally, if you have relatives who live near any of your stops, pay them a visit along the way. No matter what you do, remember that a toddler with a full bladder or an empty stomach is never a happy toddler. Be sure to plan accordingly.
- Bring a First Aid Kit
While no parent wants to think about it, accidents can happen at any point during a road trip. And, as the saying goes, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Make sure you bring along a first aid kit complete with all the necessities, including bandages, tweezers, scissors, antiseptic wipes, and a thermometer. Remember that you can never be too prepared and that even small accidents deserve the appropriate amount of care and attention. Once you’re completely prepared for any kind of emergency, you can embark on your trip with a sense of confidence.
- Inspect Your Car
The last thing you want is to be caught stranded on the highway with an overheated engine or a dead battery. Before you set off on your road trip, make sure to give your vehicle a thorough inspection. Make sure you don’t leave anything out during this step. Whether you need to change your oil or replace your windshield wipers, it’s crucial to take action as soon as possible. Your car needs to be fully prepared to handle an extensive amount of driving. Not only will inspecting your car make your own life easier, but it’ll also keep your child calm and happy throughout the ride.
Enjoying a Successful Road Trip With Your Toddler
Embarking on your very first road trip with your toddler might seem like a daunting task. However, a little bit of preparation can go a long way. Once you’ve packed everything your toddler needs and created a list of ways to keep them entertained during the entire journey, you can have the opportunity to enjoy some quality bonding time with your child. Plus, no matter where you decide to go, your toddler is sure to have a truly unforgettable time.