Author: Lisa Coleman
Published: Apr 24 2013
With traveling season quickly approaching, parents of toddlers must be prepared for car trips with children of this age and size. Unlike traveling with any other age bracket of children, toddlers have a way of making road trips very "interesting." Filled with curiosity and abundant energy, these little people find it very hard to stay still in a car for a long period of time. However, parents can counteract this desire to be physically active by packing for a road trip with them in mind.
Prepare an activity bag that includes many of their favorite toys and possibly a few new ones just for the trip. There are many kinds of toys for toddlers on today's market can help keep them entertained for a period of time. There are interactive ones, educational ones, and self-engaging ones that can help with this. Allow them to pick one thing randomly from the bag at different time periods to keep them interested. Make it a game of discovering what is in the bag. It will make the time go very fast for them.
Load some talking books onto a MP3 player for them to listen to when you are driving. Make it extra special by recording their favorite story in your own voice. You can also download some of their favorite tunes to be able to play along the way. This can help to soothe them also, maybe even into taking a nap.
A large stuffed animal makes a very good pillow and provides imaginative company in the back seat of the car. Some toddlers prefer their favorite blankie or a pacifier instead. Letting them have this will also help pacify them while on the road.
This may sound crazy, but it is absolutely perfect for long road trips. Make sure that every time you stop at a rest area, you take the time to go back to a grassy area away from the cars and let your toddler run around. Let them burn off energy. When they begin to slow down, encourage them to find something interesting to put in their jar; a leaf, a pine cone, a weird shaped stone. Not only does this encourage them to learn and explore, it gives them something to look forward to when it is time to run around.
Sometimes these simple toys can be the most entertaining of all. If age appropriate, give your toddler a chance to draw what they see out the window. Give them ideas to draw. Encourage them to use different colors. It can be a learning experience as well as entertainment.
When you are traveling with a toddler, it is also important to prepare to take extra time. You may be able to make the road trip in 10 hours by yourself, but it may take 13 with a toddler. Giving yourself extra time to reach your destination will also reduce the stress you feel and give you extra time to enjoy with your toddler each time that you stop.
So, as traveling season approaches, do not look at it as a source of stress, just look for ways to make the road trip more entertaining for your toddler. Unlike an adult who can simply enjoy the scenery or listen to the radio to make time pass, these bundles of energy need a little more to help keep them still during a long ride.
Lisa Coleman, former Army wife and mother of 4, can relate with the frustrations that can come with travel, moving or vacationing, while on the road with little ones. She offers the above ideas in an effort to help other parents that might have had similar frustrations while traveling. In her experiences, the toys for toddlers, MP3 player and a jar for rest stops were the most beneficial in aiding to pass the time and make the road trip more enjoyable.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jennycu/5586184417/
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