K.M. asks from Statesville, NC on November 13, 2006
17 Hr. Car Ride! Any Ideas to Keep 13 Month Old Occupied?
My husband, myself, and our 13 month old daughter are leaving on Friday for a 17 hour ride. No, not for the scenery!!! We are heading to my in-laws in NH, for Thanksgiving. We took this road trip when she was 2 months old, she practically slept the entire time. But we realize this time is going to be a challenge. We plan on leaving at 6pm and driving straight through, so hopefully she will be sleeping on and off. I've stocked up on kids dvds and her fav. music but besides that I'm at a loss. Any suggestions would be great! Thank you all so much in advance! ( I already can't imagine not having this website to turn too! You have all been so helpful! Thanks again!)
So What Happened?™
Thank you all so much for the wonderful advice. We are back at home in NC now and glad to be!! She slept most of the way there but the way back was a bit more difficult. All the suggestions I received were priceless once we were on the road. The travel magnadoodle was the best, Maycee loved it!! The wet washcloth and hot water from McD's worked wonders at 3 am on the trip back, and the new Elmo's world DVD and music kept her occupied when nothing else did. Thank you all so much for the wonderful advice!!!
D.B. answers from Charlotte on November 15, 2006
Hi K. M,
My name is D. and I totally know what you are talking about as far a long drive with a younger child. I have been traveling to Michigan from North Carolina off and on for about two years. My youngest is two now and he is a very busy boy! So i do the same with the dvd's and the music, and i also have a few toys that make him happy to have and play with anything that make noise helps keep him busy and make him laugh. I found something that was like a steering wheel that had light and a horn and music on it and he loved it. I also brought cars and I know you have a lil girl but girls like the way the car will roll around and she can push it while being in her sit. If I could have sat in the back with him I would have just to help keep him busy but lucky for me I have two older boys that would play with him. If she is talking maybe some flash cards with pic of animals on them will help pass time to by making the sound of the animal on the card and the name of it. Well I hope you have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving!
M.L. answers from Charleston on November 15, 2006
You are very brave! I had to take my 17 month old son on a long plane ride and it was very challenging. At least you can take breaks. Anyway, one thing I did that helped was stocking up on a ton of cheap toys at the Dollar Store. I must've bought 30 little toys so there was always something new to look at and explore. Another idea: We're not big fans of McDonalds, but on a long car trip, McDonald's (unfortunately) is a great place for breaks because the child can run around and play in the kid playground area. Good luck!
J.B. answers from Columbia on November 15, 2006
The DVD's are a good idea! I have taken a few trips with my daugther and they were a life saver! Maybe you could bring some crayons and a notebook...a few smaller toys, snacks,and books. That is what I bring for my daughter and she has for the most part been very good on our trips. Hopefully she will sleep a lot :) Good Luck!
L.S. answers from Huntsville on November 16, 2006
Hi - Been there done that! And about to do it again with 3 kids! My husband is from NYC (Bronx)and we left from Huntsville, Al. We left at 6:00pm right after baths and their pajammas were put on. My girls were 4 and 9months then. And also had good ole' mother in law with us. Bring tons of books too and I also like the color wonder stuff by crayola! They dont get messy! We packed lots of snacks and made frequent breaks once it turned daylight. We stopped and got gas every time it was on 1/2 a tank so the girls and us could stretch and change diapers. It was about a good 15min. break. Also, if you have to go thru New Jersey they have to pump your gas b/c its the law and its usually long lines so get out of the car b/c its going to take forever to get gas especially with holiday travel. Hope this helps!
D.S. answers from Hickory on November 15, 2006
K. - if you can tolerate reading in the car, take some children's books to read as well. It's been a long time since I did a 'cross country' trip with my kids in the car (they are 19 & 17 now!)- but we did a few from UT to NJ when we were in the military and my children were little (back then we didn't have DVD's LOL)but I do remember taking some small toys that they could play with and read stories and had their favorite music tapes to play (we didn't even have a CD player either!). We did stop at rest stops and let the kids out to run around - it helps to let them stretch their legs and get some fresh air - then they sleep again! We all made the trip in one piece - and it actually wasn't too bad - it had it's moments, but looking back on the trips the good and fun stuff always out weighed the bad.
Just remember to write down what worked and what didn't so you'll know for next time and can pass the info on to other mom's too! Have a great trip, we will pray for safe travel for you!
M.S. answers from Charlotte on November 15, 2006
Hello! We make the trip from Charlotte to NH all of the time because we are from NH. Where in NH are you going? Our last trip (drive) was this summer. To keep out 14 month old (at the time) busy we brought lots of snacks, books, cds to sing, we are buying a little dvd player for our next trip because we will have two children at christmas time, and a LOT of patience. Good luck with all of this! Let me know how she does! we also try to leave either early early in the morning or bedtime at night and drive as far as we can into the night to save on screaming time.
G.S. answers from Fayetteville on November 16, 2006
For starters make sure you leave your home to start this lovely road trip about the time that she usually goes to sleep at night. Try to get a sitter IF possible to sit for you guys right before the trip. You and the hubby take a nap and rest. And off you go. If she sleeps the entire night she'll only be awake for about 7 hours of the trip. So that shouldn't be too hectic.
H.H. answers from Norfolk on November 15, 2006
I've done this with a 2 yr old and a 13 mo old so I know what you're in for. I stopped at every official state rest area (which were almost evenly spaced every 3 to 4 hours) and let the kids run around for a while (even if they were asleep, I stopped.) There was lots of sidewalk, grassy areas and they could make noise and stumble around without bothering anyone. In addition, I stopped to eat a fast food restuarants that had areas where they could play. Chick Fil A's all seem to have toddler areas as my 13 mo old couldn't play on the big areas. This gave them a chance to run around some more.
N.B. answers from Raleigh on November 15, 2006
Everyones advice sounds really good from what I have read but something that helps us on long drives is to eat at a place live McDonald's or even pull over for a short time at a park, so that the kids can run around on the playground and get a little bit of energy out. & most of the time when we get back on the rode our kids doze off w/in a few minutes. Good Luck! & Happy Holidays!
M.G. answers from Gadsden on November 14, 2006
Hopefully, she will sleep a lot of the time since you are leaving at night...that was a good idea. I would also bring lots of drinks and snacks, along with everything else. My 15 month old isn't interested in tv at all...lol. and before it gets too late at night, I would also make little breaks every once in a while so that she can move around and such ...maybe it will keep the cranky factor low....(obviously, before she passes out for night time)---and when she wakes up in the morning, it might be nice to make a pit stop at mcdonalds or something so she can get out again and enjoy herself and stretch some more....
Good Luck and Enjoy your thanksgiving..I don't know if I helped at all, but hopefully it will be uneventful....it seems like you got everything handled :P