Who doesn’t love a good road trip?! In a car, with the windows down, hair blowing in the wind, music blaring, and the pristine country hurtling by at top speeds. Your friend, or maybe your significant other is driving, and you are in the passenger seat, head thumping to the music, LuLaRoe on your legs, and bare feet on the dashboard. Max, the dog is smiling and panting, in the back seat, loving life. Keeping Max company in the backseat is a toddler in a car seat.
Wait, what? What is a toddler doing on a road trip? Won’t they cry and zap the fun out of this trip of pure nirvana?
No, is the answer. Well, technically, they’ll probably cry. They’re freaking toddlers, for crying out loud. But, they’ll cry a whole lot less this trip. Why? You’ve come prepared and organized. You’ve got this! Here are 5 things to pack if you’re taking a toddler on a road trip!
5 Things To Pack If You’re Taking A Toddler On A Road Trip
1. SNACKS: First and foremost, this is maybe the most important thing you bring. Some items that are bite sized, so the toddler has no trouble feeding themself would be good. Cut up fruit is always a hit. Breakfast cereal, crackers, and raisins are favorites on our road trips. Put them in individual plastic zip bags, so the child can hold the bag. This allows them to dip into the snacks when they want, at their pace. Don’t forget drink boxes!
2. PORTABLE DVD OR MP3 PLAYER: Some fancy cars come preloaded with these genius items. I’m poor, however, so we hit it old-school. We use the handheld kinds, the ones that are little enough to sit on a lapboard with the toddler. These are GREAT, because you can also take them in to restaurants, or anywhere you need to entertain a fussy, tired toddler. We have also used portable DVD players which have two screens that fit on the back of the front-seat headrests. These are brilliant, because more than one child can watch at the same time. Bonus: You don’t have to finagle a lapboard and a toddler. Don’t forget to pack DVD’s! You can fit them in a CD case for travel. You can even get little headphones that plug in to the player, so Mommy and Daddy don’t have to listen to Calliou for hours.
3. A SOFT OR FAVORITE BLANKET: Blankets can be like magic. Toddlers use them for comfort, for sleep, to keep the wind from the open window away, a fort, and whatever else the child might dream up. I do not leave the house without a blanket I can pull out and appease the screaming monster … ‘er sweetheart … in the backseat.
4. TODDLER GAMES: Any handheld games or toys meant for children are great. You can make them a box to hold their fun treasures, sensory-type items like these fun bottles to play with, aluminum foil with which to make statues and other creative shapes, or pipe cleaners to twist into fun shapes. Really, the sky is the limit here. Anything the kids can hold and manipulate in their hands is good, and will keep them entertained for a good while. Don’t forget to monitor their play, and make sure nothing goes in their mouth or hurts them.
5. A PILLOW AND FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL: The child will eventually want to fall asleep at some point during the trip. It will be much easier to curb the fussiness if you have a pillow and favorite stuffed animal for them to clutch. Like the blanket, these items can be magic to a toddler.
You can get crazy on your road trip, bringing a car-load of activities to entertain your child. Really, though, these five items are tried and true, by me, to keep toddlers happy and content on long car trips. They will still fuss and cry … they are toddlers … but these items will make your life so much easier.
So, enjoy that road trip! Roll down the windows, and soak up the wind, the sun, the smells. You really can enjoy a road trip with a toddler, if you are prepared.