12 Hr Road-trip with 15 Month Old

Updated on September 25, 2007
L.Y. asks from Minneapolis, MN
4 answers

My 15 month old daughter and I will be going on a 12-hr road trip with my sister and brother in-law next week. Since my husband can't make it, I will be the only one entertaining my daughter. We are leaving about 3 hours before my daughter's bed time. My daughter does not even like staying in her car seat from Mpls to St. Paul, so I am a little apprehensive. What are some suggestions, ideas, toys, etc...I should bring with me to make it a more comfortable trip for everyone in the car, especially my daughter?

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So What Happened?

So we survived the 12-hour road trip! I packed a back pack full of toys and rotated whenever she got bored. It worked! The most interesting thing I learned is that my daughter would rather play with non-toy items such as, a spoon, small bowl and cups. Also, bringing an assortment of snacks worked as well. Thanks for all your advice!

More Answers



answers from Minneapolis on

I think the key is having lots of different things so you can switch when she loses interest in one thing. I have not taken a 12 hour trip but many many shorter trips in the car and on the plane and here were things that worked well for my son...

1. lots of picture books, especially those with tactile things to do, where you can open the flap, or touch things
2. snacks: lots of different snacks, like half-grapes, blueberries, raisins, cheerios, things your daughter can hold herself and feed herself.
3. sticker books (if she shows any interest in that...not sure about the age)
4. children's music cds, to sing along...we got through hours and hours in the car having some good music to listen to and sing with and do finger plays like itsy bitsy spider and wheels on the bus
5. my son also really liked this hand-held music "ipod" that is available at Target for around $10, I think the brand is "Parents"? he could hold it up to his ear and select the music himself
6. a mini back-pack or bag with several plastic animals, or other small favorite toys to hold and look at and play with. She can pull them out of the bag and put them back into the bag....in fact just transfering the items is a great activity in itself.
7. this little piggy is always a favorite game
8. bring a cloth or towel to play peek a boo
9. hand lotion...have her put it on herself...this will take up some time and you can do foot massage too

That's about all I can think of at the moment! Good luck!




answers from Minneapolis on

One thing that gets us through is the DVD player. Ours is built in but they portable ones that are quite cheap now too. We watch baby einstein on them and it works well. We also have car cd's. Target has a great Parents line that is near the cards...with a listening station. Our favorite is the rockin sing alongs. We also look at books and talk a lot.
Good luck-



answers from Minneapolis on

I have done a 12 hour trip to our hometown in Canada while my 3 little ones were 9 months and this summer at 22 months so I totally can relate! The number one thing I can recommend is music, music, music. Get as much as you can, even classical for when its close to her naptime so it soothes her. There's a lot of great stuff out there that won't drive the adults nuts (I like Dan Zane, Raffi, The backyardigans) Get some music that also have fingers plays amd movements you can teach while you travel (itsy bitsy spider, head and shoulders, patty cake). Another thing I collect for long trips is little electronic games that makes beeping noises, they obviously are too young to really use them but the bleeps and beeps seem to keep them occupied. Also musical instruments (tamborines, rattles, etc) keep my little ones amused, especially when tehy can play along with the music. Food that takes a long time to eat up...mine get one sucker per trip:)
Also if you know the route you are taking go to the dept. of transportation and you will be able to map out where all the rest stops are on the way, some may be closed for the season but they'll let you know which ones will be open, it makes it easier to know when and where you can stop for a rest a long the way, just stoppnig at gas stations isn't too great for letting htem run around and get some energy out.
Hope that helps and good luck



answers from Minneapolis on

We went on a road trip to Nebraska when my son was 8 months old, so I'm sure things are different with an older child, but we also went on vacation with him when he was 14 mos old and spent multiple hours in the car....my son as well didn't like sitting in the carseats.

Bring snacks and a sippy cup for water/juice/ect. I found if nothing else works, snacks are a good bribe in the car. Not that you want your kid always eating, but healthy snacks should be fine. Hand puppets are always nice, they don't take up much space, and kids seem to think it's funny...I've also found, if she's sitting OK by herself, don't try to entertain...because when you decide you don't want to anymore, that's about when she'll want the attention. So talk to her and let her be if she's doing OK. At 15 mos, she's probably pretty interested in learning lots of things, so point things out that are out of the window, it's good "conversation".

Don't forget to stop every once in a while so not only you can streatch your legs, but so she can get some of the energy out. plan on a good 15-20 minute break. Don't forget the favorite blanket/teddybear for sleeping and the nuk if she uses one. She probably won't sleep as well in the car, but she should sleep a lot over night...are you driving overnight? that's when you can make the best time with a little one, because the sleep will be for at least a few hours. I found my son always wakes up when we stop and slow down, so if you can drive all night, I'd suggest stopping just before bedtime for everyone to get thier refreshments and use the bathroom...that way once she sleeps, you can cruise on with out stopping and waking her up.

Just a few Ideas....if she watches movies ...you can bring a portable DVD player. Just depends on how much TV you let her watch or how long her attention span is...

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