Travelling with small humans can feel very daunting and overwhelming. As we are embracing staycations more and more or just going on a road trip for a day whether that means spending a day by the seaside, countryside or visiting family and friends. The idea of being stuck in the car for a while can be stressful.
Here are some top tips to help make it more enjoyable for everyone.
I know this seems very obvious but having done a few longer journeys I can tell you how even snacks can feel like a minefield. The moment we get in the car it seems like a constant monologue of crying or the dreaded “I’m hungry” over and over. I find the smaller the snack the better depending on your child’s age. Why not go for dry cereal or rusks? They take a while to eat and aren't messy. Anything that isn’t messy or can’t melt. Something that can go in a container and they can do themselves is great. I also try and limit the amount of snacks and try and cut up some healthier options such as fruit depending on your child’s age.
Having some toys to hand can really help when on long journeys. You can get these seat pocket organisers for a real bargain so your child can help themselves to a toy or a book whatever they would like. You can play songs or listen to an audio book even really young children can enjoy this. If you are happy to do so you can always use an iPad or tablet to entertain your child you can download films and episodes for free on BBC I Player, Netflix and many other online platforms. Encouraging your child to use headphones is also great as they can watch or listen to something without you having to endure it too.
It can be very tempting to just get there but our little ones can need a break if it’s a long journey. Have a look before you leave for good stopping places along the route. Whether it be a park or somewhere for a short walk. If there isn't, why not bring a ball, there is always somewhere to kick or throw a ball. If you have a younger child then stopping and allowing them to stretch their legs, or for a feed can mean a much calmer journey. They may even fall asleep as they are tired from the runaround.
Sometimes it can be easier to just drive at night or very early in the morning when your child is likely to sleep. If you feel awake enough and can do this then it can be a great way of a more enjoyable trip for everyone. Even travelling during nap time can help. It’s also worth thinking about ensuring your child has just had a meal or milk happy tummies also mean a calmer journey.
Even though you will of course ensure you have changed nappies and made your child go to the toilet sometimes they just need to go again. You can get a travel potty for this or just a normal potty is fine. I put a large sanitary pad or thick face cloth in the potty, this absorbs the wee and then you can pop it into a nappy sack for easy disposal, it also stops the smell as well. If they are in the early stages of potty training popping a puppy training mat on the car seat works wonders if they do have an accident then your car seat will still be dry. You can pick these up at any pet shop or online. If your little one is still in nappies then It’s also worth making sure you have a nappy mat, change of clothes… to hand I have obviously had this in the car but not always easy to get to. I find popping it under your child’s feet is a great place for ease.
As briefly mentioned above, having things to hand is crucial to a stress free journey. Packing the car can sometimes be just throwing everything in or packing it all in so tight that you don’t dare get anything out as everything falls out. Thinking ahead with things you may need can be really useful. Such as a spare pair of clothes, empty carrier bags( for accidents or in case someone feels sick) , cuddly toys, Muslins, blankets, first aid kit… consider what you may need as well. We are so focused on our children we can forget we might need things too. Especially if your baby is little, having spare clothes for you can be useful. I will never forget when I was breastfeeding in a service station and my son was sick all over me. I had all the clothes for him but mine were buried in the car somewhere.
I hope yo have found some helpful tips here. As ever if you have any other ideas please feel free to leave them in the comments below.
Have a great trip!