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We just recently went on a long 12-hour car ride down to Florida to visit family and go to Disney. I was dreading it because it is tough to entertain a two and three-year-old for that long while we are stuck in a car. However, they still take naps, and for some reason, their longest ones are when we are driving. WIN-WIN!
I mentioned our trip to friends and family, and most recommended Benadryl. I know this is just a joke, and most of you can agree that traveling with toddlers can be a bear. However, Luke would say roar like a dinosaur, but there has to be away, and I was determined to do it without Benadryl.
I can honestly say YouTube kid’s songs helped for a short period of the long drive by playing B-I-N-G-O, and Olde McDonald had a Farm, but that gets old quick. I have even made a song up about Milk. Don’t Ask. When your two-year-old is freaking out, and there is no way to solve his problem on the road, you try just about anything when you can’t block out the whining.
So here is my long drive with toddler’s milk song: Milkie, milkie, oh how I wish I had a cup of milkie. I love milkie… It goes on and on, as I just made it up as we kept going along.
Essentials for Long Car Rides with Toddlers:
- Get your child used to 1-hour drives being board.
- Amazon Kids Fire Tablet as this has saved me so much so they can play an educational game on their tablet, and I can get a little bit of work done while my husband drives.
- DVD player since it may give you an hour of silence to rest, as well as possibly help them doze off.
- Make a rest area pit stop every 2 to 3-hours while they are awake. It allows them to go to the bathroom and let off a little bit of energy.
- FlashCards to learn letters, numbers, addition, subtraction, and words.
- Interactive books were excellent during our most recent trip. I picked up some interactive ones where you must find certain things on pages, like I-Spy books. If you trust your kids with markers or crayons in the car, you could do coloring books, but I do not trust my boys.
- Healthy snacks and water (limit to much water, though, or you will have a ton of bathroom breaks).
- Blankets as not everyone is always comfortable at the same temperatures.
- Maybe this is just my boys and me, but those blankets also work for pillows.
- Make sure your child is in comfortable clothes as well as yourself. Often I let the boys travel in their pajamas to ensure this.
- Extra clothes as you never know when someone will have an accident. Possibly even a meltdown and sit on a dirty bathroom floor with pee on it. Remember, my Irish Twin boys are only 2 and 3, so accidents do occasionally happen, as well as meltdowns.
- Wipes for sticky hands and more. As well as paper towels because you never get enough when you go through the drive-thru. You can thank me later for this as then you won’t be touching sticky buckles and door handles.
- Travel potty in the case of an emergency, and you are over an hour from a rest area. You can pull over to the side of the road and put a plastic bag on it. I have found that if you put a paper towel or some napkins inside, it helps absorb some of the urine until you get to the next rest area.
- Sunglasses as my kids hate when the sun gets in their eyes.
- Lastly, be prepared to sit in the back as they will need help more than likely reaching snacks, new books, and hitting the button’s on the DVD player.
My recommendations for the parents during long trips:
- Coffee, tea, or energy drinks.
- A lot of patience.
- Nuts as they are a great snack, and they provide your body with protein to keep you fuller longer.
- A good book or journal – if you can write/read while someone is driving. I can, but I know most can not.
Do you have tips for traveling long distances with kids? I would love to hear them.
I love that you add recommendations for the parents too! It can just as hard for the parents as it is for the kids during road trips.
Love this- great info! We just took a trip to North Carolina (about 10-12 hours for us) and the YouTube songs are a game changer!
Great post. So many parents forget the little bladders in the back, idk how many times I see someone on the side of the road while the little boy (never have seen a little girl doing this) lets loose. The drives we take are usually within a 2 to 6 hour time frame, but there are lots of stops along the way.
Glad you have so many helpful ideas for both the kids and parents. The snacks reminded me of growing up, my grandpa always took a gallon ziploc bag full of Cheerios and a pack of twizzlers on any trip we took.
The Irish Twin's Momma
I remember my dad always packing apples and cheerios for us now that you mention it. We wouldn’t be able to eat the apples because it wasn’t cut up so when he would stop he would do a few for us.
Great list! In bought these organizers that hang on the back of the seat and one of the pockets is the perfect size for an iPad. The last hour and a half of our trip, it came in handy BIG TIME! My daughter was so over it until we turned on Blippi… didn’t hear a peep out of her for the last little stretch. We don’t do much screen time in general, but on road trips, all bets are off!
The Irish Twin's Momma
I agree with you. After all, things exhausted including yourself you must. It’s not always, but a rare occasion for those long drives.