We just got back from Thanksgiving in Northern Nevada, where my husband and I grew up, and we were thinking about how much easier it used to be sans toddler. Sitting in traffic for 4+ hours to head back to where we currently live in Northern California is no small feat but add an 18 month old baby girl who only wants to run, play and in her words “out” the entire drive and you are headed to meltdown city for all parties involved.
Luckily, we have done that drive enough over the past 1 ½ years that we have learned what works and what doesn’t as far as keeping little miss Avery Jean entertained and content in the back seat. Now to say that it is fool proof is laughable, but we have found some great toys, books and other distractions to keep the peace in the car. Now please remember all kiddos are different and what works for us may not work for your little one but by golly these have been life savers for us and I think we have enough great ideas below that you are bound to find something that makes road trips with the fam a little bit easier.
The first thing we try to do is time her nap with the time we head out. We make sure to have a bottle ready (yes I know at 18 months she should be done with babas, we are working on it people!) and we hit the road and that usually gives us about an hour of uninterrupted Howard Stern Sirius time. Now I know that is not always doable but if you can, give it a shot. Yep, she cries for a good ten minutes and throws her bottle about 15 times but after that she falls asleep. I know, exhausting right?!
We also give her a teether because I swear all of the rest of her teeth are coming in at the same time! We love this one because it is a little dolly as well. We got this from our favorite store Five Little Monkeys in Walnut Creek.
Once she wakes up from that nap, we try to delay the tried and true tablet for as long as we can. First toy out of our toy arsenal is a good book. We make sure it is a size that she can hold in her car seat and easily turn the pages. Now with Avery we are lucky because she LOVES books but not every kid does. If your little one does try some of these:
Now let’s be real, those books last oh I don’t know 10 minutes maybe 20 if we are lucky so we are on to the next. Avery is talking a lot and is like a sponge with words to she loves these word flashcards. She looks at one, then throws three, then looks at more. They may be all over the back seat by the end, but she is very entertained with them and loves making the sounds and saying the words on the cards. We got these on Amazon!
Once that is done, we move on to art! She is easily entertained with her mini etch a sketch for a while and we really enjoy the quiet time in the front seat. We got ours on Amazon and its pretty indestructible, i.e. being thrown all over the car doesn’t phase it.
If after these if we still have not reached our destination, we sing some songs, ask her what sounds all the animals in the entire zoo make and then we give in to the tablet. There really is only so much you can do before you just want to relax and not entertain your little one. Now this may be controversial since she is 18 months but yes, we do let her look at our tablet. We only use it for long road trips, but we are alright with her watching a Peppa Pig movie or some baby genius if it gets us through the car ride. I know it can be a touchy subject but if you are alright with your little one watching something, we love our Amazon Kindle and we bought this headrest mount from Amazon as well! Pop up on the headrest in front of her and you are good to go!
With the holiday season upon us I know a lot of you are on the road and I hope that some of these tips and tricks help you for a safe and relaxing road trip!
And if all else fails make sure you keep a golden retriever in the backseat for some entertainment like we do!
Chat soon Lovelies!