Everyone deserves to have a great vacation. Extra challenges come into play when you start planning a road trip with tots in the car. Toddlers have short attention spans, tire easily and create some of the most memorable moments that parents will ever have.
The trick to surviving a road trip with toddlers is to plan ahead. Think about your child's daily routine and the likes and dislikes of your child. Building his or her preferences into a road trip will ease the stress for everyone. Check out these ideas to see which ones might work for you.
Happiness is a child doing what he or she enjoys. Does your toddler like animals? Consider a trip to the zoo. Does your toddler like water? A fountain might be fun. Think about what your child likes to do and plan accordingly.
Road trips are exciting but they can be stressful for toddlers. Comfort toys help make a child feel at home wherever you are. Bring along beloved stuffed animals, blankets or anything else that helps comfort your child.
Children need playtime to run off pent up energy. Put soap bubbles, medium sized balls and favored toys on your packing list. Encourage your toddler to be active. Use the toys at rest areas other places on your road trip where your child can run and play.
At some point, your child will need a rest break while you want to be on the go. Bring along a stroller for times when you are shopping and your toddler needs to rest. Backpacks and front packs can also be good choices. Check your destination ahead of time to see which is allowed. Or better yet, bring a stroller and a pack if you have space.
Toddlers tend to get upset when they are tired, overstimulated, not feeling well or hungry. Stave off hunger pangs by packing healthy snacks and drinks that your child likes. You won't lose road trip time trying to find a store to buy snacks. Plus, the food is ready when your toddler is hungry.
Take it in stride
Meltdowns can (and probably will) happen on a road trip. Sometimes the best laid out plans will go awry. A blanket or toy may be forgotten or the stress of standing in line may be overwhelming for a child. Planning for tantrums can help manage your stress level. Remember, stressful situations are temporary. Try to take it all in stride.
Don't forget to spend quality time with the kids. Parents sometimes focus on the destination without spending quality time with the toddler. Make an extra effort to go out and play. It won't just make for a happier toddler. Playtime together helps make happier adults.