12 answers

18 Month Old on 10 Hour Car Ride

We are going down to the Smoky Mountains in about a month. This is the first super long car ride with our daughter who will be 18 months old. Do you have any tips or suggestions to make our trip easier for her? I have already purchased a DVD player to go on the back of our seat so that she can watch "Melmo" as many times as she would like. If you can also think of any must haves for the ride!

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I bought my daughter a magna doodle and some new books that she had never seen as well as a my little pony and a small baby doll. She did great. I think it wouldn't have gone so well if we didn't have the DVD player though. We left our house at 4:30 am and she didn't go back to sleep until about 10! So much for sleeping ~ She did the exact same thing on the way home. All in all it wasn't bad at all! We are planning another trip down for this spring! Thanks again!!!

More Answers

Hi K.~

We recently went on a 10 hour car trip this summer with our 20 month old & 4 yr old. My mom came up with this idea and it worked great....aside from all the snacks, movies etc. she bought 8 little presents (for each child), wrapped in tissue paper, for the kids and we passed them out throughout the ride. Nothing was expensive (crayons & paper, little toy car, etc) but the excitement of unwrapping & playing with the new "thing" worked at keeping the kids happy and occupied.

Have safe & fun time! :)

1 mom found this helpful

I travel a lot with my toddler and found headphones to be a great thing also... just got a cheap pair from walmart that go over the head and cover the ears... she thinks she is so special when she gets to wear them. Try a few small short trips since you have some time... just to get used ot them. Also, the magnetic drawing boards, where you move the eraser across teh board and the little 'stick' pen is attached... great since you can't loose the pieces.
Music is good and we pack a little lunchbox cooler for her all on her own for snacks or what not --makes her feel special for big girl treats when we are on the road. I tend to make sure when she is watching a video... every now and then I lean back and tell her what a great job she is doing.
Have a great time on your trip! Plan a little extra time so when you stop she can run around a bit.

All the advise are great, I agree with all of them. I took a 6 hours car trip a couple months ago with my 22mo and 3.5years old daughters. First try to leave around their nap time, and don't stop of course while their naping. Bring alot of snacks and drinks that she love(my girls love fish, fruit snack, and m&m). Don't forget activities: Color wonder, doodle pro, STICKERS. Wet nap and changing clothes a must. Check her diaper before leaving make sure it dry. Have fun.

We went to The smokey mountains 3 summers ago(kids were 9 and 2) and Virginia Beach last summer( kids were 11, 4, 2 and 15 months). We did it with out a dvd player. It wasn't bad. We had magnadoodles, viewmasters, the see n'say, coloring stuff(try the color wonder so the car doesn't get a new color too) and lots of small toys that fit in thier hands. Both trips went really well. Make sure you talk to her about it before. When you are in the car around town tell her in a few weeks she's going to sit in the car for a really long time, tell her about the fun stuff you're going to do and see when you get there. Also, I found with my kids the rule needed to be...we only stop every few hours. Other wise we were stopping all the time. Have a fun and safe trip! If you're near Dollywood in Gatlinburg, I highly recommend it. It was a great time for my family.

I suggest making sure you have plenty of wet wipes and snacks. Also have a plastic bag handy for that accidental leak through the diaper and clothes get all wet.

We drive to FL every winter, and go on long car rides quite often. We always drive through teh night and usually start the drive a couple of hours before the kids bedtimes. Or, we go extremely early (3 or 4 am) so that the kids will fall back to sleep in the car. Just don't forget to go to bed early the night before. Lots of toys and snacks are essential, beware that the car seat and car is going to get yucky, don't expect the kids to not get the car sticky and gooey and take whatever precautions you can to minimize this. My husband and I take turns driving so that neither of us are awake the entire time (middle of the night) and we both get enough sleep to make the next day fun. Other than that, we stop at every sight seeing opportunity we can to let the little one out and run around. We usually stop for about 30 min every 2 hours or so. Don't expect them to sit still in a restaurant after being strapped in the car seat for 2 hours... take sandwich stuff or do drive through and eat in a park so that they can run wild while you are eating. We made that mistake the first trip, boy that sure wasn't a relaxing meal. Try to make getting there as much of the fun as being there, rushing to "get there" will make it stressful on everyone. Good luck.

My advices is to not stop when she is sleeping. She will probably sleep alot in the car. You will need to stop every 3 or 4 hours (maybe more) when she is awake. Try to stop someplace where she can run around and you can stretch and play with her for 30-34 minutes.

Good luck!

I would bring lots of snacks for the ride. Toddlers love to snack don't they? I just got back from a month long trip to Europe with my hubby and 2 girls ages 4 and 17 months. We had books and coloring gear that helped on the long plane rides. I would also buy a new toy that she has never seen before, something that is really interactive and fun. And then surprise her with it on the journey! Sing lots of songs and even try sitting in the backseat with her if you can. Good luck and have fun!

When my daughter was 18 months we took her on a plane to California. Not as long of a trip...but it was an adventure. Here are a few ideas... I would suggest a little lap desk from Babies R Us or maybe even Target to rest books and snacks on. We bought the cheerios books. My daughter enjoyed playing with them and snacking at the same time. She played with stickers. A lot of lift-the-flap books kept her entertained. We also bought some new toys. Nothing expensive or fancy, but things she had never played with before so that they would be new and she could explore them longer. You can even borrow some from friends and family. I hope this helps. Have a safe trip.

My daughter will be 4 years old in two weeks, and has been traveling by car/plane since she was 6 weeks old. Her father is from NYC so we drive/fly there often. My suggestion to you, if you can, would be to only drive half way, spend the night and then finish the trip the next morning. I know ten hours isn't really a long time, however to a small person strapped in a car seat it is a lifetime. We would drive 6 hours and stop every two hours or so and let our daughter run outside in the grass at the rest areas. We took our time so she would stay in an excited mood about getting back in the car to get to our vacation. I also purchased a potable DVD player. I also buy her 2 small new toys for every trip and I do not show them to her until we are in the car or on the plane. Also, the one that is not driving, is usually in the back seat. This helps in entertaining the child.
She had been on many car trips and 17 airplanes, and she is a great traveler. Good Luck.

We do the same drive every other year w/our children. We start out in the evening (around 6) so they can eat dinner in the car and watch movies, then around 8 or 9pm, they are asleep for the night ;) My husband and I just take turns driving, until one of us gets too tired. Sometimes we have to stop and get a hotel b/c we both are just so tired!! But having the snacks and movies helps, also, I find bringing their blankies and pillow helps to, to make their sleep a little more comfortable.

Leave at bedtime and drive through the night. You sleep too, so you can entertain her while your husband sleeps in the morning. If this doesn't work for you, leave an hour or so before lunch. Stop for lunch, let her nap on the ride and that will knock off at least 3 hours of the drive...

For the waking hours... get several toys from the dollar store that you can toss back when she gets fidgety. Bring music she likes and lots and lots of snacks. GOOD LUCK!

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