S.B. asks from Burlington, VT on June 04, 2010
Car Travel with a 23 Month Old
We have a family vacation coming up that will involve a couple of plane rides and several long car rides. Our 23 month old is a healthy and outgoing regular toddler. Between us I'm dreading the car rides. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions about how to make this trip something manageable and even enjoyable. One suggestion that I keep hearing is investing in a travel dvd player. If you agree could you please suggest a reliable and affordable brand? Thanks for your time.
S.P. answers from Omaha on June 04, 2010
We drive 18 hours twice a year to visit our family, so we spend a lot of time in the car. We have been doing this since our son was 4 months old (he is 4 years old now). As much as my husband and I can stand it, we drive at night, so our son can sleep during a lot of the drive. I highly recommend that strategy if you are able to trade off on driving.
I think the DVD player is a good suggestion. We have a Phillips one that has worked well for us.
For one trip, when my son was your son's age, I wrapped up different toys. Every hour or so (if he was getting restless), I would give him a toy to unwrap. It would take him a while to unwrap the toy, so that would be part of the fun and would occupy him a while. Then, he has something new to play with for a little while. I bought 2-3 really small toys at Target ($3 or less), but I also wrapped up some of his own small toys to play with. Some of the toys I wrapped, I hid them for a little while, so he didn't play with them for a couple of weeks before the trip. Then, it was like a brand new toy to him, even though it was his own.
I hope you enjoy your vacation!
1 mom found this helpful
J.S. answers from Dallas on June 04, 2010
Plan lots of stops so that your little one can get out and run around, maybe bring a ball or favorite outside toy. When we went on a long trip I bought my son a few new toys and also packed a large bag of toys too. It really helped. Make sure you have tons of healthy fun snacks too. Good Luck and have fun.
1 mom found this helpful
S.B. answers from Kansas City on June 04, 2010
We have a travel DVD player and it is awesome. I dont know the brand, sorry, and it's in my husband's car at work. We also have a DVD case that has speakers built in, and the straps can go over the headrests of the two front seats, putting it in the middle. It is great. Without the extra speakers its very hard to hear sometimes in the car.
I also would recommend the Color Wonder markers, since they can only mark on certain paper and not on your car.
1 mom found this helpful
E.M. answers from Boston on June 05, 2010
I just got back from a 7.5 hour car ride with the 26 month old twins I nanny for. These two travel a lot. One thing I would suggest is to save the "big guns" like new toys or dvd players as a last resort. We went for something like 3 hours without a dvd because they were fine just sitting in the back talking and then listening to music.
That being said, here's some DVD player advice: One of the twins likes DVDs and the other doesn't. If your little one doesn't sit long for movies, the DVD player won't work. So, I'd suggest test driving movies from the library before you go out and buy a ton. Our travel DVD player is a Sony DVP-FX930. I'd also highly recommend the Fisher Price headphones (available at Target) because they are perfect for little ears and are super tough and throw-resistant. We like that DVD player because you can swivel the screen to hide the part that opens (and the button that opens the DVD compartment) and also lock the front buttons so they can't turn it off. We don't use any car harness to hold it up...but that could also be a good investment (or just sit with your toddler with the DVD player on your lap).
We bring ALL of the following on plane and car trips: food in big tupperware containers that they can use like a tray (eating meals takes up a huge chunck of our trips - bring wet paper towels in a baggie for cleanup), STICKERS (that they stick on themselves, you, your face, wherever), aquadoodles/magnadoodles, books (preferrably new ones/library rentals or their favorites so they hold their attention), CDs, a bag of mixed little toys from the house, a bag of new toys (think Matchbox cars or dollar spot at Target that I hide and pull out as a "big gun" if needed) and their lovies/comfort blankets (to encourage naps).
Good luck and just have fun!
L.P. answers from San Francisco on June 07, 2010
Here are some other ideas besides a dvd player.
R.F. answers from Boston on June 07, 2010
unless your child enjoys watching tv and it keeps him/her entertained I would not go that route. we took 2+ hour car rides on a regular basis when my son was that age and never had a problem. he mostly slept in the car or you can give them fun little toys - we used those chunky cars that are appropriate for toddlers along with playing little games to have him notice the things outside (lets see how many motorcycles/tractor trailers/red cars etc we can find) also take breaks & let them run around in a safe area of the rest stop if they start getting restless.
D.M. answers from Boston on June 07, 2010
We travel several times a year btw 3-5 hr trips, my daughter is 26 months. We bring a tote bag with books, a few fave stuffed animals, and a few electronic toys she can play with (pushing buttons, playing music). We try and time it so we travel from lunch thru the afternoon so she naps.
To keep her from being bored, we try and play peekaboo games, and now we start singing songs or doing ABCs.
If it's the 4-5 hour drive, we usually stop for lunch (if she's awake), it helps break the drive up a little. We've also stopped and done the picnic lunch thing so she can run around for a half hour.
When things get too ugly, one of us gets in the back seat and plays peekaboo or other tactile things to mix it up.
A.C. answers from Boston on June 05, 2010
I don't have a brand suggestion, but I would highly recommend one that plugs into your car lighter. I have a portable DVD player and I can't tell you how much I've spent on batteries, at this point I'm sure it's more than I saved going with the less expensive player. Also I would recommend using Redbox for DVD rentals if you have one in your area and in the areas where you are traveling to. Rentals are $1.00 per night and there is no due date. They can be rented in one location and returned to any Redbox in the country. You can check out Redbox.com for more info, and to find out if there are locations wherever you're going to. Have a great time.