Whether you are hitting the road for ten hours or 3 days, the potential hassles and stress are numerous.
Unfortunately, the hassle and stress just doubles— no, triples— when you include a toddler on the list. And although some little ones fall asleep or stay quite with occasional fussing for a few minutes while on the car, there are toddlers who just don’t love seating at the backseat and looking at the boring, loooong road ahead.
If this sounds like your little one, then this article is for you. Here are some of the things you need to prepare and add to your packing list that will surely help you survive the long ride as well as satisfying your toddler and keeping him busy for a few hours of fun.
1. Toddler’s Playlist
When your little one gets all cranky and fuss after long hours of roads ahead, have a bit of a concert inside the car. Plug in your phone or a CD with your toddler’s favorite songs and music and play your baby’s go-to list of songs to knock out the grumps fast.
Think “Apples and Bananas,” “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and “The Wheels on the Bus” for starters.
Much better if you also know the song and sing along with your toddler for a fun and lively joyride that will surely take your toddler’s attention for a few hours.
2. New Toys
If your little one gets tired repeating the same old songs, then he might throw a tantrum again. Your toddler’s favorite toy might do the trick but that won’t last for long. So, make sure that you get some new toys that will allow your toddler to explore it for hours and distract them along the road.
New toys are always a great option for long trips since toddlers tend to be keener to play with new ones than the toys that they already have.
3. Snacks And Sweets
This is something that you just can’t forget when packing. But, other than packing the whole fridge for your little one, make sure that you also pack something for yourself.
Make sure that you have good and healthy snacks in order to keep you and your toddler satisfied and full for the trip. You should also consider bringing a cooler with drinks and a separate bag just for your snacks. This way you will not have to buy things along the way.
When packing food, the key here is variety. Bring both sweet and salty things, particularly for your little one’s snacks. Sometimes your kid might be particularly choosy about the snack they want so you need to give them a lot to choose from. And although I did say that you will need healthy snacks, sweets can act as treats when your little one is throwing a fit. If your kid cries and screams with all the snack available, show his favorite sweets (say chocolates) and tell him that he can only get it if he behaves.
This might work for only a few hours, but it is better than hearing your little one scream out his lungs for hours.
4. Car Games
Car games not only help you save your ears from screaming toddler, but it also helps you stimulate your little one’s mind as well as keeping you awake when driving. Search and prepare for car games, usually mind games and fun to solve games where your toddler can join.
For instance, you can try the alphabet game, cards or have a competition of counting certain items on the road (lamp post or animals). This should help take your toddler’s attention somewhere else.
5. Tablets Or Portable Car DVD Player
Fill your tablets with videos that your toddler loves watching. Or you consider getting potable car DVD players and insert your toddler’s favorite cartoon. Maybe you can let them watch new videos and movies they haven’t seen yet so that they will be busy for a few hours.
You can also have games on their tablet and allow them to play along the road. However, if your kid tends to get dizzy and sick, then this is not an option for you.
6. Changing Stations
This might seem unnecessary when they have changing tables inside rest stops and gas stations, but if you can’t find these ones along the road during a diaper emergency or driving through the night, you will thank yourself later.
Taking your toddler to the gas station or pit stops with all those bright lights will surely wake your toots and make it harder for you to get him back to sleep. Or if your toddler gets a poopy diaper in the middle of nowhere, then you obviously need to change it or your car will smell.
So, it is much nicer if you already have it in the car and change him right there. Even if it’s just the seat next to the car seat, less stimulation means less risk of your toddler waking up or an instant change of diapers and clothes.