Surviving Long Car Trips with Babies & Toddlers

Travel Activities for Infants and Tots during Family Road Trips

Traveling with kids, particularly babies and toddlers, requires a lot of planning and preparation. Older children on long car trips can be distracted with a variety of activities due to their ability to read, write and count. But for babies and toddlers, the activities are somewhat limited. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be good traveling companions.

What parents need are some essential items for the car such as a diaper bag, tissues and wipes, first aid kit and food as well as a few fun car games to keep the little ones happy and occupied while on long car trips.

Baby Toys

Babies and toys get along just fine. And that’s why it’s a good idea to bring several small toys along. Don’t take them all out at the same time, though. Take them out one at a time so that they all stay “new”. When the baby seems to have grown bored with one toy, put it away and present her with another one. Parents can also buy some cheap and small toys when making stops during the journey.

Playing Peekaboo

Babies are often fond of playing peekaboo. Adults or older children in the car can all take turns to play peekaboo with the baby. Pulling funny faces is also highly entertaining for babies!

Dealing with Crying

The good news is that most babies can sleep through most of their journey. The bad news is when they get cranky, they may cry non-stop for a long while. Here are some tips to deal with crying while on the road.

  • Make sure the pacifier, blanket, and favorite toy are within easy reach.
  • If the crying continues, stop the car and check for rashes and other signs of discomfort.
  • Maintain the baby’s routine, particularly when it comes to feeding time and sleep time.
  • If the journey takes a few days, lodge at hotel rooms with a small kitchen or at least a microwave oven to heat up milk and cook simple, fast meals.
  • Assign someone who can tolerate loud and incessant crying for more than 10 minutes as the driver.

Surprise Goodie Bag

Toddlers will enjoy surprise goodie bags. Give each toddler a small bag filled with five to seven items such as small toys, stickers, balloons, picture books, coloring books, crayons, pencils, and erasers. Don’t open the bag and let them see the contents. Instead, get them to feel the bag and guess what the things inside are. Ask the children to guess the item one by one.

The guessing game itself will have eliminated a few minutes of boredom in the car. And when all the contents are revealed, the kids can get busy with them. To make drawing and coloring activities easier, invest in a snack and play travel tray for each toddler in the car.

Naming and Counting Objects

This is a good and fun way to learn new words and grasp numeracy concepts for toddlers. Use the objects you see as learning tools. Watch out for cows, horses, sheep, rivers, farms, houses, hills and other vehicles on the road. Name and count them as the car passes them by. However, be sure not to count to more than 10. Keep things simple and fun for the kids.

Singing and Rhyming

What’s a car trip without singing and rhyming? Get some CDs with children’s songs and nursery rhymes and sing along. Again, it’s a great way to learn new words. No children’s CDs? No worries! Just belt out any song to keep things alive in the car. Kids will love it too if Mum or Dad can sing off-tune or make silly sounds when singing.

Keeping babies and toddlers happy and amused on a long family road trip is challenging but not impossible. Just be sure to bring along their toys, coloring books, and crayons, have a contingency plan to manage crying and be prepared to play silly games and sing funny songs.

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