Keeping your toddler content throughout a long trip can be an arduous task. Ideally, your child will sleep during the whole experience, and you won’t have to worry about anything. In reality, it is more likely to spend most of the time crying and squirming around.
Besides the emotional toll, driving with toddlers can be dangerous. If the two of you are alone in the car, you will have to constantly check on the kid, which will affect your focus. Luckily, a few things can make the trip more enjoyable for the kid, and thus, for you.
Here are 5 tips for safe long-distance road trip driving with toddlers.
1. Have Comfortable Car Seats
Kids often get uncomfortable when in a strange environment. This feeling is amplified in the car due to space confinement and the inability to explore. Things get especially troublesome during long trips as children usually start squirming, yelling, and crying.
While you can’t do anything about the car itself, or the length of the trip, you can try to make the interior as enjoyable as possible. Getting a nice car seat head support for toddlers is great for increasing safety and comfort.
When they have head support, kids feel like they’re tucked in their mothers’ hands. Their heads do not bob, meaning they are more likely to sleep throughout the trip. Proper support will fix their head in place, which also increases the overall safety.
2. Drive At Night
Considering the previous tip, it is much better to drive during the period of the day when your kids are the sleepiest. So, driving during the night or at the time of midday nap is the optimal solution. Going on a trip early in the morning is the worst solution as your kids will have a lot of energy during this period.
Another great thing about driving during the night is that the journey will be much shorter. There are no traffic jams you need to worry about. If you’re driving to another country, you won’t have to think about long lines at the border. It is especially great if you have another driver in the car who can take the wheel once you get really tired.
However, you have to consider that driving during the night is not ideal. Most people get really sleepy, and the last thing you want is to risk your family’s safety. In fact, if you’re not comfortable driving during this time, perhaps it’s better to avoid it altogether.
3. Take Several Breaks
If you commonly take two breaks during a 10-hour trip, you should probably double that when traveling with kids. First off, this will make them less anxious. They will have the opportunity to stretch their legs, eat a snack at a restaurant or gas station, and overall, enjoy themselves a bit more. As you know, kids don’t have the same attention span as we do. They need a constant change of pace to keep them engaged.
Breaks are also great for going to the toilet and taking care of all biological needs. The last thing you need is a child yelling in your ear that they need to go.
Taking several breaks will also be great for you. Although it will make the whole journey longer, it won’t be as stressful.
4. Play Road Games
Playing road games is not only good for dealing with the kids, but it is also amazing for bonding. Having fun together can create long-lasting memories for all the passengers.
You don’t need intricate board games or anything of that sort. In fact, you probably don’t even have to bring toys (although they might help for a while). Instead, you can play various word associations, “I spy with my little eye,” etc. The more creative you are, the better.
If that becomes boring, you can even give them a coloring book. However, we advise against video games as they can lead to some bad habits.
5. Listen To The Music And Play Cartoons
Listening to music is great for a child’s development. It is especially fun during long trips. You can do sing-alongs and have some family fun.
Alternatively, you can play some cartoons. However, you should only use them as the final solution. The last thing you want is to have your child glued to the screen for several hours. What’s even worse, if you play cartoons, they will ask for them the next time you go on a trip.