Today is the day! We are finally all packed, everything is in the boot and we are on the road. But before we are even at the end of the road I can hear this little squeaky voice in the back 'Ooooh' 'Mum, look' 'Raisins please'! Any car journey with a toddler can be difficult and so I thought that I would share my top tips in surviving those car journeys with them, especially as it's Christmas and many of you will be travelling over the holidays. So sit back and relax, we got this.
As with most car journeys being prepared is a must as you may never know what these little people can throw at you - an unscheduled nap, a meltdown because they've dropped their favourite toy, becoming hangry little people (we've all been there), explosives poops or even vomming everywhere. It's best to be prepared for EVERYTHING. But you do have to bare in mind that even with the best planning in the world little ones will pick and choose their own routines. My daughter will normally be asleep after an hour or so of travelling so we will try and prepare for this by making sure that she's comfortable, has her yellow blanket and we are prepared for a later night time routine.
Timing is everything. It goes without saying, but I will anyway, try and avoid rush hour. Even though some delays are inevitable but by leaving an hour earlier or an hour later can make a big difference to journey times and stress levels. Plan to travel at a time that includes nap time if possible. Then, get your favourite tunes on, relax and let the miles go by!
Distractions. You will need lots of them with a toddler. My daughter has pretty much taxed my kindle and we do have a portable DVD player and so before we set off we will always make sure that they are both fully charged or have enough leads in case we need to recharge. My daughter has a fantastic app on
my her kindle and this is perfect for car journeys, you can find my review here if you'd like to know more. Obviously you don’t want your little ones plugged in to screens for too long so ration their screen time and use it as a tool for rewarding good behaviour if necessary.
I have found from our car journeys that keeping a stash of books, toys, and dummies in the front is the way forward because let's face it most toddlers like to drop and throw things, don't they? But even if they do you'll be ready with your secret stash in the front. We also have this backseat and pushchair organiser which secures to the back of the driver or passenger car seat and it's the perfect distraction for my daughter. It has several compartments to hold drinks, toys, snacks and so much more. We have also decided to do something a little different this year because it's Christmas and wrap up a few gifts for my daughter to unwrap along the way, nothing too expensive a few crayons, colouring books, stickers and perhaps a new DVD to help keep her occupied.
Food. As parents we are not supposed to use food to bribe our children, but on long car journeys, regular snacks can help alleviate boredom and keep little ones happy. A hungry travelling child is NEVER a happy travelling child. Dried fruit, crackers, rice cakes and cubes of cheese are all great choices for snacking. Avoid anything too sticky, because a few chocolate buttons were a great idea to give to my daughter.
Take regular breaks! It always a good idea to stop for regular breaks because you don't want your toddler to become a grumpy bum and consequently becoming grumpy parent for the rest of the journey. So make sure that you take breaks, so sit back and give everyone a change of scene, refreshments and a chance to stretch their legs.
Make sure you are fully equipped. You have packed your suitcase so the last thing you want is to pull out your heavy suitcase to try and get a change of clothes for your little poop machine, so be sure to have some essentials in your car.
- A change of clothes, without a doubt. Make sure the changing bag is in the front with you to prevent any inquisitive toddlers pulling everything out and eating all your prepared snacks.
- First aid kit. You never know what could happen so best be prepared. My daughter is going through a stage where if she so much as bites her own fingers she needs a plaster. But it's always a good idea to keep any medicine to hand should you need it.
- Portable Potty. Even though we are not fully potty trained and most of the journey due to napping she will be in her nappy it's always an idea to take a potty along for the car journey.