I still can't believe we decided to do it - or that we not only survived, but had a total of one (yep, one) meltdown on a three-day road trip from Houston, TX to Los Angeles, CA with two adults, two dogs, and a toddler. It feels great to finally be settled in our temporary home while we search for our new place in LA, and I'm finally ready to get back into the swing of everyday life things. For my first venture back, I thought I'd share the tips & tricks that helped make our road trip something we all enjoyed.
HOW TO ROAD TRIP WITH A TODDLER
1) SAME TOYS, NEW ENVIRONMENT
I had originally planned on buying a handful of new toys for the trip, but it snuck up on me and I ended up simply packing toys from her current collection that were (a) small (b) interactive but not too loud or (c) could hang from the carrier bar on her carseat. Turns out, in a different environment, her old toys became new again! We especially loved these keys from Target (they're metal and make sounds just like mommy's) and our old friend Hedgehog from Skip Hop became a new favorite car companion (we still use it for longer drives these days!).
2) START WHILE ITS STILL BEDTIME
I was skeptical if this would or wouldn't work, but it was magic! Every morning around 4AM, we packed the car then woke Evie up gently in a still dark room. We did a quick diaper change, put her in the carseat, and started driving by 5AM. She quickly fell back asleep with the car moving and no lights, and slept until sunrise - 6:30/7:00 each morning. Knocking out a few hours with a sleeping kiddo was a big help!
3) STOP FOR MEALS/WIGGLE TIME
Once Evie woke up each morning, we stopped for breakfast & gas, allowing for some wiggle time, and then got back on the road. She usually took her morning nap around 8:30/9 and slept another hour or two. Then we'd stop again at a rest stop and do lunch/play time for a half hour or so. Scheduling in time where she could eat and be out of the car seat really helped. I'd say we got out every 2 or so hrs.
4) HAVE A FAVORITE SHOW READY TO GO
We only used it once - but man - having an iPad ready to go with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse (her FAV) was a lifesaver during our meltdown. She calmed down right away and quietly watched a handful of episodes as we finished our drive for the day.
That's it! Every kid is different, so not all of these may work for you, but it sure helped us get our busy wiggle monster across the country with minimal stress. If you have any other tips, send them my way! I'm sure I'll want to try them next time we have a long drive!
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