We spend a lot of time in the car with Tyler and have done since he was born! We have family and friends dotted all over the country and we are fortunate enough to have our own car, meaning that we can travel far and wide. With the festive season in full swing, we(along with half of the country!) have lots of long drives planned for visiting said friends and family this month.
Long car journeys can be boring for us adults, so for a hyperactive toddler they can’t be all that fun, right? I would say that personally, travelling with a toddler has been a little more challenging than travelling with a young baby. We’ve travelled to North Wales, Brighton, the Isle of Wight and frequently to Berkshire with Tyler, so I thought I would put a post together with some of my top tips for long car journeys with a toddler in tow.
If your toddler has a nap at a certain time of day, then if possible, it might be a good idea to set off on your journey at around that time. Tyler currently naps for around an hour and half a day just after his lunch, so when we can, we try and head off at this time so that we know he will have a good sleep for the first stretch of the journey.
Plan your stops
This ties into your little ones nap time. For example, it might be a good idea to plan a stop for when they wake up so that they can stretch their legs for a little bit and have a nappy change(or a toilet break if you’re at that stage). If you’re heading on a familiar route, you’ll know roughly where the services are located but if you’re off on a new route, have a look on Google Maps and save some good service stops onto your phone.
Pack your own food/snacks/lunch
This is a general tip really, as service/petrol station food and drink can be limited and is always much more expensive than what you’d pay for it in the supermarket. I always make sue to take more snacks than I think I’ll need for Tyler, just in case the journey takes longer than expected(hello M4!) or in case he decides he doesn’t want a particular snack that is offered to him. I’m not usually one for offering my child an alternative food to what he’s been given, but when you’re confined to the car, it’s always best to avoid tantrums at all costs!
Pre plan your activities
Being in the car, you are slightly limited on what sort of activities and toys your toddler can play with so it’s a good idea to think about what things would be practical for using in the car. Books are a great one for the car, you could even have a handful of books that you keep in the car all the time so that you know you always have some to hand! A colouring book and crayons are a fairly practical activity for long car journeys too, bonus if your car has tray tables!
We all have smart phones nowadays and most people also have a tablet of some shape or form, so bringing one along with you for your long journey might be really handy if your toddler has a favourite film or programme that you know they’ll zone into. There are also lots of great fun and educational apps out there at the moment too. I don’t have any to personally recommend just yet as it’s something I’ve only just started looking into myself!
Do you have any plans for a long car journey with your toddler coming up? Or are you a road trip pro? I’d love to know if you have any tips to add to this post!