Labor Day weekend is approaching and you might be planning a fun family weekend getaway. Someplace far-ish away, maybe even out of Province! *Go Team You!* I see you picturing the open road, the wind in your hair, playing road games with your toddler while sipping on a nice hot coffee and sharing a chuckle at the music your husband chose to play on the radio.. Ahhh 🙂
ARE YOU CRAZY??!! This may seem like a wonderful idea (and it is, it really is!) but if you are traveling with a toddler, chances are things might not go exactly as planned while you’re on route to your destination. Fortunately, you have me as your guinea pig.
My husband and I decided to take our 2.5 year old daughter on her first big road trip a couple weekends ago. The plan was to leave Nova Scotia, head to PEI via ferry, spend two nights there, head across the Confederation bridge to Moncton for a night, wake up and do the Magnetic Hill Zoo and make the long drive back home to Nova Scotia. We had a plan. And after a lot of brainstorming and troubleshooting, we all survived!
Here are the top 6 things that were a MUST in order to make this trip a success:
1. Bring a Potty. If your toddler is potty trained, this is a MUST. We took her potty and it sat in the back seat of the car for the entire trip. It was a lifesaver! It saved us from having to find someplace to stop on short notice (which could result in an “accident”) and it also saved us from taking an exit and getting lost. We weren’t in the business of making the trip any longer than it already was! Just pull over and BAM!
2. Have snacks ready to fire. Before we left, I packed a few baggies with Lux’s favorite snacks; not necessarily all healthy, but one’s that would calm her down and save our sanity in a pinch. Separate small baggies with Tostito chips, mini cookies, cheesies, grapes, a cheese string and a yogurt tube were all packed in the dash. And they got put to good use!
3. Wipes. Even though my daughter is potty trained, wipes are still my best friend! Have these ready after those snacks and let your toddler wipe their face and hands themselves. It gives them a sense of independence (which saves a fight) and it saves you from pulling the car over to do it yourself. It doesn’t matter if they don’t do a perfect job. HINT: ask them to wipe their doll’s (or other toy’s) face, too! It will turn into a game.
4. Invest in a Magnetic Drawing Board. This was a god send! I picked up one of these babies on our way to PEI from Chapters|Indigo and our daughter loved it! She could draw, erase and stamp all on her own and BONUS! Mess free!
5. Make a Toddler Approved Playlist. If your kid is anything like mine, they LOVE music! Fortunately, mine loves a lot of the music I like. I specifically made a playlist on my IPad called “Lux Road Trip” and have it playing whenever we go on long drives. I may have to put one song on repeat (right now it’s “My House” by Flo Rida.. Yes I’m serious) but it’s much better than a screaming toddler, am I right?! *Preach!*
6. Load a big Rubbermaid tub full of small toys and books. I bought one for $4 from Walmart and it sits on the floor below her car seat. I would pass her a book or a couple of her little “friends” when she got bored and she would play for a long time with that! It’s a great way to keep the toys organized in the small area that a vehicle is. I even let her bring her recorder and harmonica. Hey, desperate times!
So this is all it really takes to keep that left eye from twitching! Who knew! And if all else fails, Baileys is really good in your ice coffee!! Just make sure you’re not the one driving 😉
Happy Road Tripping!!