Road Trip With a Toddler: Safety Tips and Fun Bits
If even the notion of a road trip has startled you, when you add a toddler to the equation, you and your spouse are likely to imagine a nightmare on four wheels.
However, contrary to what many people think, a long car ride with your little one can be quite an adventure. While definitely less expensive than air travel, it can be fun for both the kid and parents, believe it or not. What can be the best way to strengthen your bond with your child than an adventurous road trip? And you can also get to work on your co-parenting skills as well.
However, road trips with your little ones call for a bit of preparation and strategic planning on the part of both the parents.
Here are a few effective parenting skills 101 which you need to develop while planning a road trip with your family.
1. Know where you’re heading
Knowing exactly where you’re going and making sure you’re fully prepared is no less important than looking after your little one in the back seat.
While this piece of advice sounds obvious, keep in mind that traveling with a babe is no opportunity for changing it or roughly mapping out a journey, no matter how romantic or daring it sounds.
One of the effective parenting skills entail proper and careful planning prior to emerging on the trip itself.
While perfectly acceptable when you’re child-free, with a little one, it’s not only risky but also dangerous.
Don’t rely solely on your car navigation for alerts and facilities, but make sure you’ve planned the tour in your map room at home. This will allow you to plan refreshments stops at places which have toddler-friendly facilities, such as indoor playroom and changing facilities.
If you’re touring in Europe, it’s good to know different road rules in each country you’ll be driving through – most countries there require you to have a sticker displayed in your car that allows you to drive on the highways and motorways.
2. Drive at night
This tip is great for a number of reasons.
First, your baby can sleep through most of the trip and you don’t have to worry about feeding them or taking them out every time you stop for petrol.
You and your partner will be able to enjoy each other’s company, and as long as you bring some snacks, you won’t have to stop and buy meals, which saves both time and money.
Yet another co-parenting tip for toddlers while hitting the road for recreational trip is that do not try to take a short nap and leave at three in the morning, believing the little one will go back sleeping in their car seat.
They might be good, but you don’t want to take any chances.
Plan ahead and instead of a crib, get them to fall asleep in their car seat at their regular bedtime – just about when you hit the road.
3. Make sure your car is ready
As a responsible parent and partner, this is an important point to keep in mind – just as you make sure your kid is prepared for a long journey, you need to make sure your car is road worthy.
For extra safety, take your car to a garage and have it checked-up, but if you haven’t skipped your annual check, just do the regular fluids and tyres check before you set out. Also, make sure you have a spare tyre or a tyre repair kit, jump starter cables, and most importantly, your car owner’s manual.
It’s also advisable to check if your insurance policy is still valid and make sure it comes with 24/7 roadside assistance. If your car breaks down on a hot summer day or you get locked out of your vehicle, your priority should be getting your family off the road or having someone see to the problem and get you rolling again.
Finally, make sure you give your car a wash and a good vacuuming on the inside.
4. Get them used to being bored
Kids don’t always need to be entertained, but if you’re constantly interacting with them or providing screen time, they will get used to constant attention.
However little kids are starting to develop their imagination and can amaze you with their fantasies, so they don’t always need buzzing and rattling toys around the house.
Even exploring leaves, twigs, and dirt in the outside can be fun.
When inside (or in the car) you don’t have to act as a hired entertainer, it’s okay to spend some time playing and reading in the back, and then go wash the dishes, or check the route ahead on your mobile device.
Make sure you bring along some old and new toys so they can play, and work on your own discomfort with their boredom without feeling guilty of now filling out their time.
5. Whole-family road entertainment
Depending on your kid’s age and their preferences, you may think of some entertainment that the whole family can enjoy together.
This can be playing some of the car games or listening to playlist of songs that his road trip will be remembered after, or even audiobooks of one their favourite stories. There are some amazing audiobooks made especially for toddlers, while some cars also have built’ in entertainment systems for playing movies with screens in the back of the headrests.
The key thing to remember when traveling with toddlers is their age and basic needs in mind, and there’s no reason why the road itself shouldn’t be just as much fun and adventurous as what awaits you at the destination.
Parenting is an art
Parenting is an art and requires skills to handle and manage your children expertly. You and your spouse have to remember the little things and proactively plan and implement them such that your children face minimal difficulties even while you are on a family road trip. They rely on you, so it is your responsibility to take care of every minute detail while planning a holiday with them.
The mentioned five points if taken care of will only reflect your talent as a responsible parent. Next time you hit the road, make sure you have this checklist prepared aforehand.
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