“Are we nearly there yet?” – it’s the question that’s tormented parents on long journeys for as long as anyone can remember. So we’ve put together a quick guide to make travelling with toddlers on board run just that little bit more smoothly.
We’re focusing on car travel with toddlers in particular because they can be one of the trickiest age groups to entertain. They get bored quickly and it’s also harder to explain to them just why they’re stuck in a car for so long when they’d really like to be running around outside – which brings us to the first tip . . .
If your little one knows that they’re heading for somewhere exciting, it’ll at least give them a reason to try and tolerate travelling for such a long time. If you’re on your way to visit family or friends then say how pleased they’ll be to see you all or, if you’re heading for a holiday destination, describe all the exciting things you’ll find there. One word of warning though – don’t exaggerate; if the final experience doesn’t live up to expectations then they may not be so easy to convince in the future.
Ironically, although it’s going to make the journey time longer, making regular stops along the way could well make it feel shorter. So stop at least every hour if possible for quick breaks when there’s a chance for your toddler to stretch their little legs – and also to make those all-important toilet breaks.
A sleeping toddler’s a happy toddler – so if possible, plan to travel at times of the day when they’re most likely to be out for the count. Travelling through the night is not only the most stress-free time, it also has the added advantage of being when the traffic may be at its lightest.
If you do have to travel in the day then taking a more scenic route may be the best choice. There’s more for your toddler to look at, and there will also be more opportunities for pit stops.
Having a comfortable car seat for your toddler is also essential. They’ll fidget less and they’re also more likely to go to sleep on the journey. If possible, it’s also a good idea if a grown-up can spend at least part of the journey sitting next to them telling stories and keeping them entertained.
There’s nothing worse than getting a few miles down the road and realising you’ve forgotten to bring the baby wipes. So make a checklist of all the journey essentials before you go. It seems like a hassle, but you’ll be glad you did in the long run.
Finally, your approach to a long journey with a toddler can also make a big difference. So if you look at it as a chance to spend some quality time with them it can even become something for you all to look forward to - and what could be better than that?