Road trips are certainly a summer staple. Surviving them is pretty much a rite of passage for parents with young children. Last summer our family embarked on a 54-hour epic road trip and you better believe we came prepared. Below are some of our best tried-and-true tips for surviving road trips with toddlers.
This is my number one tip for travelling with young ones. Regardless of your level of comfort with “going with the flow,” this is not the time to leave things to chance. I know from several road trips driving through the prairies that the “next stop” could be three hours away. So making sure to do your research ahead of time so you know exactly what options are available to you along the way will be a lifesaver.
You’ve probably seen this circling social media for the past month or so. A tackle box is actually the perfect little container for snacking on the go. What makes it so perfect for road trips is the sheer variety you can pack into one small container. Variety is the spice of life, for adults as well as toddlers. Your kids can take their sweet time sampling all of the many options available to them as they move from province to province or state to state.
Purposefully planning long breaks from technology and other entertainment might be your best bet for coaxing your little one to drift off into slumberland. This works especially well after a meal or bathroom break. If they don’t have anything immediately at their disposal, they are more likely to take a much-needed nap. Enjoy the blissful quiet while it lasts.
There are a ton of magnetic activity boards and books available on the market now. I love these for road trips because of the large pieces and the fact that they stick right to the boards, making it less likely to lose pieces. Some of the boards include different backgrounds that kids can place pieces and use their imagination to tell their own story, while others are more of a matching game. Either way, it’s a great way to keep their attention and creative juices flowing at the same time.
There is a certain brand of sticker books that my little one is absolutely obsessed with. On our road trip these books kept him entertained for hours on end. First of all, they are huge, so there is no way they’ll get through it all in one trip. Secondly, all of the stickers located at the front of the book need to be matched with the pictures throughout the book. So it becomes a very fun detective game to try to find the picture that matches the sticker! Hours of fun! Seriously a must!
Invariably, as soon as you are about 30 minutes away from the next closest rest stop, your little one will be screaming desperately for a bathroom break. Knowing this, I picked up a portable potty that can be used simply by safely pulling over to the shoulder and placing it on the floor of the car. Everything collects in a nice little bag, which you can dispose of at the next stop, and your toddler can comfortably sit on a proper seat to do their business. It’s a lifesaver, especially if you happen to be potty training.
What are your favourite road trip tips? Leave a comment below!
XO The Good Enuf Mommy
Tiffany Austin is a mom, a wife, writer, and educator living in Canada. Tired of never feeling “good enough” as a new mom, she began a blog to encourage other moms to feel confident and empowered in their own decisions. Her blog, The Good Enuf Mommy, includes everything from helpful parenting advice to product recommendations aimed at making the lives of moms just a little bit easier.