Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised. Proverbs 31:30

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Traveling with Toddlers

We (meaning #1, #2, and myself, Pastor will be staying home, so I'm braving this alone) will be taking a trip this week to North Dakota. Now for those of you who don't know we currently live in Idaho, the southeast corner. We're traveling to the middle of North Dakota, and then going to the end of the state that borders ND/MN, (so traveling ALL through the state of ND). My mom and Pastor's parents both live in ND and my little sister graduates from college Mother's Day weekend, so we're taking a trip and making a 2 week vacation out of it, because what else do I have to do...haha (besides clean the house and cook for Pastor).

So, in preparation for our trip I've been looking at "traveling with toddlers" and some advice people have. I've traveled with them before, but not when they've been older (3 and 1). So this trip shall be interesting, especially in that because #1 is potty trained.

Here is what I've found has worked for us before and things I'm going to try on this trip!

1. Break it up. When traveling with kids by car, two six-hour days are twice as easy as one monster marathon drive. I was going to do a 13.5 hour drive in ONE DAY with the kids, but then I thought about all our sanity, and decided NOT to, so we're doing two 7 hour days. And no matter how far or how long the drive, be prepared to stop frequently during toddler car travel —your child could use a chance to walk and play at rest stops. Encourage him to stretch his legs and burn off some energy with a toy ball (where it’s safe to play) or a quick game of follow-the-leader.

2. Dollar Store Presents.  When we traveled to Oregon I did this. Every hour or so I'd bring out a new toy, just from the dollar store, and the kids loved it!  I highly recommend sticking to the once an hour and never caving on that.  That way you don't use up your bag of tricks too soon.

3. Good Snacks.  I often buy single serving cereal boxes because they are easy to give to the kids. I think it's best to pack little candy, to avoid getting the kids hyper.  Granola bars, nuts, cheese, fruit, and cereal work well for us.

4. Verbal games. Since #1 is old enough and can see most things out his van window we play I Spy a LOT.

5. Coloring and Clipboards.  Crayons, stickers, and even googley eyes can help pass a lot of time.  The Dollar Store also has clipboards.  Etch-a-sketch, Magna Doodles, and dry erase boards work well too.

6. Comfortable Clothing. Make sure your kids are dressed comfortably and not too hot, this way its easier for them to take a little snooze here and there.

7. Fun Music That Everyone Likes. Well music the KIDS like is important. We have a TON of VBS and Sunday School Songs that #1 LOVES to sing with, although they get a bit annoying, he likes them.

8. Bin of Toys I leave a little bin of toys between the two van seats and #1 is able to grab a new toy for him or his sister throughout the trip, it has those little toys we got from the happy meals that I always neglected giving my children.

9. Find Play Places. Yes, traveling is tough so find a McDonalds with a play place and eat there so they can burn off some energy or find a rest stop and get a ball and throw a ball to each other!

10. The Secret Weapon.  We own dual DVD players, and this is what KEEPS MY SANITY while I travel alone with the kids. We bring 10 various DVDS and watch them over and over! I make sure to bring longer ones, so I don't have to change them every 30 minutes, because that's a pain.

How do you travel with your kids? What works for you? 

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