Thursday, April 2, 2009

Have Kids – Will Travel

Ten tips to traveling with toddlers.

  1. Take a mini break every 2-3 hours. Let everyone stretch their legs and get the yayas out. When planning your trip try to coordinate the rest stops at a park or at the very least some where safe away from the roadside for children to run and play. A rest room in the vicinity is a must. Draw a map for your child to follow, add basic markings that they will understand and ask them to point them out along the way. For example: You can add a red car, a big truck, animals which you know you will pass. Use a special mark to indicate your stops and talk the breaks up "when we stop you can run around and play".
  2. Surprise packages – this works wonders as little ones get bored pretty quickly. Have a bunch of pre-made packages made up with little surprises in each. I use a zip lock bag for each individual treat. Put in one or two little items that your toddler can play with and bring them out every 30 minutes or so. Items can be a small toy wrapped in tin foil – the unwrapping is fun. Noise makers are better than whining kids although I recommend bringing these out before your nerves are shattered and take them away again when the next item is given – this for your own sanity. Pipe cleaners – they can make all sorts of creations. Magnets in a cookie tin – they can stick the magnets to the lid and put them in the tin for safe keeping later. Chalk and black paper for drawing. Mini magna doodle. The list is endless.
  3. Blow bubbles. You can do this from the front passenger seat – send them back for toddler to try and catch. This is great to pull out when you are nearing a rest stop and toddler is getting unsettled.
  4. Music – yours or there’s it doesn’t matter as long as you can all sing a long. If you have a particular CD that you play when your toddler naps during the day, take it on the trip with you and put it one when you want him to sleep.
  5. Make up a story about the surroundings as you travel. My kids always remember the story of the fairies that live in the forest along the stretch of road heading towards our lake house. This always gets us through the last twenty minutes of the trip when everyone is tired and grumpy. It takes a bit of imagination but the effort is worth it.
  6. Snacks, snacks and more snacks! Make sure you pack plenty to eat and drink. Toddlers will not wait for the next comfort stop if they are hungry “NOW”. Schedule a picnic stop – much nicer on a fine day than a road side eatery. Avoid high sugar food which tends to offer instant gratification which does not last past the last bite.
  7. Pack a porta potty – again when you got to go you got to go! Make sure you have plenty of wipes too.
  8. When all else fails resort to a portable DVD player – these have been a sanity saver in our car!
  9. Safety: If you’ve ever had one of your little darlings undo their seatbelt while you’re driving, you’ll think these seatbelt “ANGEL GUARDS” are a fantastic idea. They securely cover the red release button on the seatbelt and deter small fingers from undoing their belt, yet only take seconds for an adult to remove.
  10. Travel in our family has been revolutionized by the award winning Snack and Play Travel Tray. Crash tested by a federally recognized laboratory in the USA. Snack & Play Travel Tray is made of soft, durable, 100% Nylon. It buckles either around the child, car seat, stroller, or chair and has side pockets and a 2 inch wall to stop toys and food from falling off the tray.

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