How to make car trips with a toddler easier

Are you dreading holiday travel because you don't know how your toddler will fare stuck in the car for hours on end? Don't worry you can make your trip much easier with just a little bit of preparation. Click through to read my quick tips!

The holiday season should be remembered for the good times spent with family and the delicious food consumed-not a terrible car ride where you completely lost your sanity and ended up so frustrated you lost it with your kids and husband.

Blowing your top doesn't help in any situation, and can even create more tension, especially when the whole family is locked in a small space. An in-charge and prepared mom can make the traveling as fun and memorable as the rest of the trip.

Back in August, Jason and I drove the 12 hours to Oregon to visit my family for a week. Benson has never been super fond of car rides. He prefers his independence and likes to be able to move around freely. I was worried about the trip for multiple reasons. 1. Jason doesn't like traveling and a screaming baby in the back seat wasn't going to help him want to continue to travel. 2. A screaming baby is not fun for anyone, especially when you're trapped in a small metal box.

I wanted our entire trip to be enjoyable so Jason and I brainstormed and found a couple of ways to prepare for our first long car trip. Please learn from our experience and try to keep a cool head when nothing makes your kiddo happy.

Get your kids used to the car: 

Like I said, Benson isn't a fan of driving around, but the week before our trip we went for long drives every night. The first night was terrible. Benson was unhappy and screaming which put Jason and I on edge. The second night was more tolerable and by night three Benson knew that eventually he would be able to get out of the car. When it came time to take our trip he didn't mind be buckled in and sitting in his car seat...too much.

Bring toys

This might seem obvious, but it's more complicated than it seems. Bring new toys. Before your trip grab a few of your kiddo's favorite toys and stash them away somewhere so that they aren't being played with. Bring them with you on your trip and pull them out when he starts to get fussy. If he has a favorite blanket or stuffed animal bring that too! However, hide the toys away again when you get to your destination. You don't want your kids to tire of them and then have nothing to surprise them with on the trip back home.

Hand out treats

A long car ride is a special occasion that deserves rewards. Pack a couple of fun treats to hand out when things start feeling long. I would love to have rice krispy treats, fruit roll-ups and those sorts of things, but Benson loves fruit, cheerios and food pouches, so that's what he got. Also keep lots of water on hand to make bottles and to just give out when the little one gets thirsty.

Sit in the back with your littles 

I'm the type who always sits in the front of the car, but we learned quickly on our trip that sitting in the back was going to make things a lot easier. I flipped down the front seat so I could still talk with Jason when Benson slept and really it wasn't bad. Honestly, the best part was that it was easy to distract Benson when he started to get fussy. I could play peek-a-boo and hand him toys or food. Plus it was easy to get his bottles ready and make sure he actually drank it.

Get them out of the car

It's hard as an adult to be stuck in a car for hours, but it's even harder on kids. Whenever you stop for gas, food or bathroom breaks let your kids get out and move around for a while. It might mean making your trip a little bit longer, but it will help in the long run, which is totally worth and extra 45 minutes! If it's not freezing let your kids run around a rest stop or at least hop up and down while you're pumping gas-anything to get those wiggles out will help!

Long car rides take a lot of patience. Try to keep your cool and focus on making each part of your trip a great family memory instead of a chore that has to be done in order to have fun.

What have you done to make car trips easier on you and your kids? 

Rebekah AnneparentingComment