By: Tamara Higgins
Everyone has that place in their heart made for traveling. Some people seem to think that our days of taking random road trips or lengthy car rides must come to an end because we have little ones. Well, today’s post is a post to share some fantastic tips that have helped my family make numerous road trips of all different lengths while keeping us all mostly content and happy!
The first thing to keep in mind when planning a road trip with your little person is their typical sleep schedule. We typically start off our trips when our little guy first wakes, or we wait until it would typically be a time that he would sleep. You might want to make this decision based on how well your child typically sleeps in the vehicle. If you have a little one that will not normally sleep in a moving vehicle, choosing nap time might not be a great option.
If we are leaving at a sleep time we ensure he has all items with him he would typically have for sleep. So for instance, the only time our little one still likes the bottle is at nap time in the afternoon. If we leave on a trip at this time, we make sure he has his bottle along with a blanket or any stuffy toys he would like to have. If we are leaving when he is first waking we usually just make sure he has items to keep him entertained.
We will often have some form of entertainment available for the longer trips (usually more than 2 hours is lengthy for our little one). Entertainment for our mister could mean a movie, or TV show of some sort, the ipad, and some toys. His favourite toys to have in the car are his trains and trucks! The amusement he gets out of running them along the sides of his carseat amazes me. Another option for entertainment could also be music, it just doesn’t seem to be something our little one really likes while in the vehicle.
The next thing we try to ensure is that he is comfortable in his seat. Car seats may look comfortable to you or I, but when sitting in the same position for the whole trip without being able to move a whole lot has to be nothing but frustrating. We try to ensure that our little guy is wearing clothing that is comfortable and not too bulky. For example, in the winter we will ensure he is wearing a sweater with a long sleeve underneath and remove his jacket, hats and mitts once he is inside the vehicle. It only takes moments to put these items back on before leaving the vehicle and saves the little ones from getting too hot or feeling even more restricted in their seats for the trip.
Food, drink and snack items are always something that we take with us most anywhere we go when we have children. This is another thing that can be helpful for a little one when on longer trips in the vehicle, I would just encourage all parents to be mindful of what snack food choices they are making for a child in a vehicle. It is my thought when traveling with my little one and thinking about food that I chose soft less “chokeable” items. I would certainly not suggest any food that is newly introduced to your child or items we know are easy to choke on. Any parents fear would be that their child will choke while eating in the back seat of the vehicle with little option to safety stop to assist them. In regards to drinks the best advise I have to offer is to avoid really sugary drinks and ensure that you have plenty of water on hand for the lengthier road trips. When we are taking road trips upwards of a 5 hour drive, we ensure that we have a cooler to store all food or drink items needing cooling. Cooler bags are great for this as they take up very little room in the vehicle and can fit easily in most any back seat for easy accessibility.
In my experiences traveling since having my son I would say the last major pointer I would have for all parents doing longer haul road trips is ensure time to decompress and stretch. Not only is this beneficial for your little one to get out of their seat and be able to freely move for a short time, but it is also helpful for parents to have the time to stretch. The longer we have travelled in the vehicle without stopping to stretch and let our little one run and play, the more restless and unsettled he would become. We will typically map out our route for our trip ensuring that we are able to stop and unbuckle him from his seat at least every 4 hours along the way. This 4 hours of course excludes any sleep time hours.
The many road trips that we have taken have ranged from 3 hour trips to 3 day long car trips. We have travelled all over Ontario by vehicle with our son and made the long trek from Ontario out to Alberta with him as well. Life with a little person does not mean that life needs to stop. It simply means that we need to be diligent in planning and preparing ourselves as well as our little people for the adventure that life is. The more comfortable they are on any trip, the more comfortable we as parents are. Enjoy life the way you always have and let your young one join in the fun!
Hello Parents! It is a pleasure to be joining this blog site after a long hiatus from writing! I would like to take a moment and say that I have throughly enjoyed reading many of the blogs on this site and I’m very excited to get to be a part of some of this wonderful writing! I am a 28 year old mom of a beautiful 2 year old boy. Coming from a music and poetry writing background, blogging is a bit different for me. I’m very excited to dive into a new world of sharing my experiences, some knowledge, and just simply being able to write my guts out! I currently plan to write blogs about travel, miscarriage and baby loss, struggles of raising children without your parents, services for Children with Developmental Disabilities and many more topics I’m sure. I look so very forward to allowing you all to get to know me as I write my stories and I hope that you are all able to get something from each of your reads!