5 Toddler Road Trip Tips

by Charise Rohm Nulsen

Welcome to the September 2012 Natural Living Blog Carnival: Kids in the Car

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Natural Living Blog Carnival hosted by Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project through the Green Moms Network. This month our members have written posts about kids in the car.


Toddler Car TavelWe love to travel, and with all of our family members residing out of state, we take a lot of road trips. These car rides with our two year old son and baby girl are typically very smooth, thanks to five guidelines that we follow:

1. Travel during nap time.
Although it can sometimes take a while for Big Brother to fall asleep in the car, he will eventually sleep for a couple of hours if our trips includes his typical nap time. There is nothing like sleeping children to make a car ride easier!

2. Pack some of your toddler’s favorite foods.
Eating always kills time, and it’s really helpful if you don’t have to rely on takeout to satisfy your child’s hunger. My son loves to snack on fruit, drink kefir or green smoothies, or nibble on finger foods as we drive.

3. Sing songs, and play fun music.
There is nothing like a few rounds of your toddler’s favorite songs to keep them happy. Our current favorites are Wheels on the Bus and Tony Chestnut (Toe Knee Chest Nut). My son loves interactive songs. Both my toddler and my baby girl love listening to the Baby Einstein: Traveling Melodies CD, too.

4. Be on the lookout.
Be on the lookout for things your child loves through the windows. My son loves cars and trucks, and he has a ball watching for dump trucks, backhoes, police cars, etc. You can look for clouds that are fun shapes, trees of certain colors, people wearing a certain item of clothing, license plates with letters or numbers that your child can recognize, specific road signs, etc. The lookout list is endless and takes up the majority of our road trips.

5. Make conversation.
In the car, your little one is not distracted by toys, TV, or friends. She can focus on you and on really developing a conversation. Our toddler has said some of his funniest and most insightful statements as we all talk in the car. It’s a rare opportunity for the whole family to focus on each other without distraction, and I treasure many of our road trip car conversations.

What are you favorite tips for road trips with a toddler?


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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Dena September 20, 2012 at 9:47 am

Thanks for the suggestions. I do most of the above. The most successful one is to travel during naptime. I also limit the amount of time he is awake in the car. At two and a half, he can’t ususally do more that 2 hours awake. So, if I have to, I spread the trip out over two days.


2 Organic Eco Baby September 20, 2012 at 11:20 am

I agree it is best to travel during nap time. I makes for such a nice quite ride! When we are in the car our 3 year old loves to listen to Rocket Man on REPEAT! lol

Thanks for the tips! :)
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3 Michelle September 20, 2012 at 2:06 pm

We listen to children’s books on cd and love talking about them together! My kids can both read in then car without getting carsick (unlike their mama!)


4 Leigh September 20, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I totally agree with your point of time in the car as the best time to really talk to your kids. My ride home from daycare with my 3 yr old daughter is when I get the most information.
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5 Hana September 20, 2012 at 11:06 pm

I love Baby Einstein! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the travel CD! Thanks for the tip.
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6 Becky September 25, 2012 at 8:10 pm

We try to travel during naptime too. I wish we could get more than 45 minutes of sleep though! These are great low key tips for travel. Thanks for sharing them!
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7 Rebecca @ Natural Mothers Network September 27, 2012 at 5:21 am

Great tips for car journeys- thanks so much for sharing:-)
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