Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Road Tripping with Toddlers

On Sunday we returned from our family vacation to Montana.  We had a great time.  It was our first long road trip with the kids and I might have gotten a little frantic preparing.  Might have.


I was worried about the kids having to be in the car for a 12 hour road trip to Glacier National Park.  That was our original plan.  Our trip, however, was delayed after my husband's great-uncle passed away.  We stayed in town for the funeral and skipped Glacier.  The rest of the trip was spent in Bozeman and Missoula. So the driving part was a little shorter than expected.

In any event, I spent a lot of time preparing and I do believe that my efforts payed off.  I reviewed a few blog posts for ideas.  Like this one and this one.  Here's what worked:

1.  How to avoid the "Are we there yet?" syndrome.

Toddlers have no concept of time.  Maybe you've noticed.  Saying that we are three hours away or even a half hour means nothing.  So I made this felt road and little stuffed van.  We advanced the car according to travel time.  When we were half way there the car was half way down the road.  I just used pins to tack the road and the car to the ceiling above the sun visors.  Kimball loved it.  He might not let me take it down.  Of course instead of asking "Are we there yet?" he just kept telling me to "Move the van" as if that would get us to our destination faster.


2.  Presents and baskets.

I took the advice of one blogger and bought dollar store presents for the kids and wrapped them.  (Of course if I had called my sister she would have given me the same idea because she's smart like that.)  I used the presents as incentives for good behavior and to keep the kids occupied so Bryce and I could listen to our book on tape.

That same blogger also suggested using baskets to keep things handy.  I bought three baskets at the dollar store.  Two had treats and one held the presents.  The baskets may actually become a permanent fixture in my van because they were great at keeping things tidy and accessible.


3.  Be willing to make unplanned stops.

This piece of advice is my own.  My husband and I like checking out stuff we happen to see as we are driving.  It makes for a bit of an adventure.  On our way up, we stopped at Bear World outside Rigby, Idaho.  It wasn't on the itinerary, but it was one of the funnest things we did.  They had kiddie rides, a petting zoo and, of course, a drive though a bear park.  I totally recommend it!












Any other useful ideas for road trips?

11 comments:

  1. Nice! Can't wait to hear more about the trip!

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    1. I will tell you all about it when you are finally in the same state. I can't wait to see you!

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  2. You rock. Seriously. I love the felt van moving along. I always have lots of treats, and plan on several breaks. With my kids getting older, it's become easier. :)

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    1. Thanks, Chris. BTW, I love your new house and kinda want to come see it.

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  3. That van is such a great idea!!! We travelled with Brooks to China and used the dollar store toys when we were on plane rides, long train rides etc. I loved it and so did he. I'm jealous your kids were strapped in for your trip, mine was climbing all over when he wasn't sleeping.

    We've done Bear World too, such a blast! It also really breaks up the drive for sure.

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    1. Emily, I can't believe that you made it to China with Brooks. Oh, man! A long car ride was hard enough. We're taking the kids on their first plan ride in August, but it's only to Texas for a wedding.

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  4. I feel like a slacker! We drove from Utah to Oregon and back and my travel solutions were: new movies (new so they're still interested in them and will quietly watch them), lots of snacks, instead of lunch in a restaurant we planned a picnic at a road side park so they could run and play, blankets and pillows within reach (possibly with favorite stuffed animals, too), and doodle boards (not crayons, I learned they WILL color on the door/window). It was about 14 hours plus stops each way and they did pretty well!!

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  5. We all had a wonderful time together!

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