10hr car journey with 6 month and 5 year olds. Advice & recommendations?(12 Posts)
What would you never do without for a long journey?
In car DVD player. Long journeys are a piece of piss since we got one for our 3 year old.
6 month old is trickier. Plenty of stops needed, try to keep them asleep in the car!
I would say plenty of half hour stops:
Ensure you leave when it is nap time so you may get a 2 hour journey. Stop for half an hour. About an hour and a half to two hours max before having a 30-45 minute stop.
I don't envy you. I travelled East Yorks to Norfolk with a 17 month old not so long ago and a nearly 3 hour journey took 4 hours!
DVD player, colouring books, stories, stickers!! stickers!! stickers! And of course a CD of singing. (Don't forget the paracetamol ofr you though!)
I'm a firm believer in leave at 4pm have tea at the services and get there at 1am (if you have a nice MIL who is happy to let you sneak in).
10 hrs is longer than I've done with mine. We did a long chunk of the East coast of America, but we got out the car and had lunch and a good mooch round the Cheserpeke (sp) bay bridge.
I've done it once with a 2 yr old and a 3 month old when we moved from Scotland to the South of England. We left at about 6pm so that they'd eaten dinner and would be awake for about an hour before sleeping for the rest of the journey.
Obviously you need to take breaks yourself so you're not too tired but the journey was also slightly shorter than expected because there was no traffic.
Other long journeys we've had to do, I'd second the DVD player and nursery rhyme cd.
Do it over two days? Otherwise, I'd leave immediately after the morning rush hour quietens down & do 2.5 hours so you get to somewhere for about midday. This place should be a farm or a NT place with playground or somewhere where your 5yo can have a good run around. Stay there for a three hours or so and have lunch & a play. Whichever of you has been driving should have a good break, especially if will be driving the next "shift". Back in car for at 2.30 for another three hours so get to your next stop for 5.30. Go somewhere for tea (a small town with somewhere like a Pizza Express may be ideal for this as you need to know there's going to be somewhere open at this time, serving food & child friendly & there will be a park where your 5yo can have another play & run around). Again, driver gets a good rest. Try not to leave until 7.00ish and put DC in their PJs. Do the next 4 hours. Other than the scheduled stops, try not to stop unless you really have to &, in those instances, whoever needs a wee dashes into the services leaving the rest of you in the car. You do not all need to get in & out each time. If 5yo will tolerate it, put him/her in a nappy; unless 6mo suffers badly from nappy rash or is a really frequent or explosive pooer, put on some sudocream before the journey/at each stop.
The passenger should have a bag at their feet with a huge amount of snacks, drinks, sticker books etc. And yes, yes, yes to DVD players. And show the 5yo how to operate it, including changing the DVD. And if you have twin 5yos, get them separate DVD plans rather than a twin screen one as then they can each watch their favourite DVD rather than take it in turns tolerating the other's favourite. Of course, if they both have the same favourite, get a second copy. It is going to be an arduous day so anything to reduce battles.
MP3 player with selection of stories and audio dramas, movie soundtracks, nursery rhymes and audio from Thomas The Tank Engine tv show plus some pepper pig audio. Seriously, converting DVD into audio works quite well for some things like TtTE and PepperPig.
If driving daytime then plan route so you stop off at a playground. May local authority websites list playgrounds and some are a mile or two from a motorway junction - some even have a cafe.
Take lots of changes of clothing and wipes in case anyone is travel sick. Make sure you can access them easily
I did it with a 6mo and a 2.5yo and was the only driver and baby was a bad sleeper so had to drive during the day or would have been too knackered. Was 10 hours in total - 8 hours of which was driving. Did two half hour stops and one one hour stop. Thought about getting DVD player for older one but didn't cos of money and ended up having a surprisingly good journey. Older DC was kept well entertained with looking out of the window - a horse! a lorry! another lorry! another horse! - and slept a fair bit and the younger one slept more than I expected too. However, I realise it gets harder as they get older and if either is not a good traveller. We do 3+ hour journeys fairly regularly though and DC1 (now almost 4) is still fine without a dvd player. If you're likely to do such lengthy journeys regularly though it is probably worth investing. We're quite good at LONG games of eye spy though... The Wiggles on CD also helps...
story tapes here. we did north east England to south west France with dcs 5, 3 and 3 months. it was fine. sweets handed out at regular intervals,.the entire works of roald Dahl in tape and me sitting next to the baby to dangle boobs in his mouth if necessary.
we found baby travelled best in just a vest so as to not get too hot. in car, go, entertain baby with toys for 20 min and chat to older ones. hand out sweets, allow baby to fall asleep/feed baby to sleep. put story on. hand out more sweets. after an hour baby wakes. spend half hour manically distracting baby. stop. one 2 hour ish section done. everyone needs a wee and leg stretch and baby needs a good feed.
oh and we once tried the travel at night thong. they didn't bloody sleep!
DVD player and Nintendo DS's. I took my kids on lots of longhaul flights plus some longish car journies. The DS's were worth their weight in gold. I really relaxed all the normal time limits for them.
For car journies you might be really restricted if your 5 year old gets car sick. They may not be able to watch DVD's or play on a DS. You could try preempting any car sickness and giving your DC medication at the beginning of the trip. It may also help you DC nap.
A Story cassette would be good.
I have always preferred to get on with the journey and not take too many breaks.
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