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how to keep 1 year old entertained on a long journey without using technology!!

(41 Posts)
cloudhands Thu 13-Dec-12 08:44:05

I just thought i would start this thread so anyone interested can share what worked for their kids. I think it's common knowledge that using technology in the under threes is just incredibly bad for their brain development, and my own anxious mummy brain wouldn't allow me to give my 1 year old an ipad even if it's just temporary.

i'd love to have a range of suggestions to choose from when we are travelling at xmas.

for me in car journeys singing worked in the past, when my DD was a bit younger, and a nice baby massage, to relax her when she was in her car seat.

also games that make her laugh, like throwing things on the floor and me getting annoyed.

She loves books so I'm sure a few of them will keep her amused for a little while.

anyone else have some good suggestions?

diyqueen Thu 13-Dec-12 08:48:29

Travel at bedtime, or failing that, nap time so they're asleep for as much of the journey as possible!

fairylightsandtinsel Thu 13-Dec-12 08:50:11

well, I'd take issue with the "Its common knowledge that technology is bad for under three's" but to answer your question, once ours stopped napping for most of the 4-5 hr journey up to the NE we do regularly, we started doing it at night, dinner bath and PJs, milk in the car, all snuggled up, story CD on (is that technology ok?) and they're asleep within the hr (depending a bit on the time of year and the light). At 1 your DD is a bit young for spotting things games or counting red cars or whatever. Also, it gives me and DH some quality time to talk and listen to our music, not theirs smile

TeeElfOnTeeShelf Thu 13-Dec-12 08:50:20

I had no idea that was common knowledge. I thought it was one study that hadn't been backed up.

In any case, new toys that she's never seen before.

Groovee Thu 13-Dec-12 08:51:20

I used to buy a little bag and buy new toys such as animals and books and produce them when the children started to get bored. This continued for about 8 years that I'd make a special travel bag that they could not look in until we were on the flight or in the car. They loved it x

Cies Thu 13-Dec-12 08:57:03

Those thick padded stickers are good - can be stuck onto the back of the seat in front/ window/ carseat and then peeled off and used again.

Plenty of stories.

Loads of good ideas here :

ZuleikaD Thu 13-Dec-12 09:18:58

I drove across America with two children and their mother when I was nannying and we used to set off at about 3 in the morning - pile them into the car fast asleep and drive till they woke up. Usually got about 5 hours in then we'd stop for the day, do stuff, find a hotel, repeat. I can definitely endorse leaving at stupid o'clock. Apart from anything else there's no traffic.

EMS23 Thu 13-Dec-12 09:24:18

'Incredibly bad'? Really?

See I find it incredibly bad when my toddler wants to play games that involve me when I'm meant to be concentrating on driving.
Her throwing things on the floor and me getting annoyed sounds very distracting.

At least a DVD or a child friendly game on the iPhone etc is preferable as it doesn't involve you having your attention diverted?

ISeeSmallPeople Thu 13-Dec-12 09:24:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mycatlikestwiglets Thu 13-Dec-12 09:33:54

Agree 100% with ISeeSmallPeople. We travel long distances regularly with 23mo DS and the only thing which keeps him settled during day time journeys is the in-car DVD player. His brain hasn't rotted yet. We also try to travel at night when possible - just get him ready for bed as usual and put him into the car seat instead of his cot. He usually stays settled all night and barely registers the transfer from car to bed once we've arrived.

What will work for you really depends on how long your journey is going to be - I personally can't imagine singing to my DS for the 4 hour journeys we do, but perhaps you have a wider repertoire.

BlueChampagne Thu 13-Dec-12 13:07:31

Totally agree about leaving at stupid o-clock. How long is the journey? CDs and a decent break every few hours.

TwelveLeggedWalk Thu 13-Dec-12 13:10:34

Well looking at the horse should keep them entertained for a while.

I assume you are travelling by horse and cart, given that pesky internal combustion engine technology is off limits.

Gigondas Thu 13-Dec-12 13:16:34

grin At twelve legged walk.

The only real option is stupid o clock travelling or someone next to child to sing / entertain but be prepared to stop a lot.

I also assume you will be refusing modern technology if you are in an accident cos of screaming child/distracted parent.

Posts like this get me angry- use your judgement. A bit of in the night garden or similar is hardly wiring your kid up to play cod 24/7 FFs.

preemiemummy26 Thu 13-Dec-12 13:27:56

Also disagree with not allowing your child to experience technology before the age of 3... I'd rather give my daughter a DVD than crash the car trying to play games with her. Obviously your lucky enough to have another adult there to drive whilst you entertain your daughter with Stone Age techniques. Over exaggerating a bit there lol, as are you with your statement however,I do take books, snacks, colouring books and crayons etc. but also play nursery rhyme CDs, give her DVDs and my iPhone with age appropriate apps on it. Travelling at night also good smile x

fairylightsandtinsel Thu 13-Dec-12 13:52:44

you do realise a book is technology don't you? Its just OLDER technology, as is the wheel come to that! Sorry, being facetious, but I dod think you are going to find life increasingly if you take such an absolute approach to things

NellyTheElephant Thu 13-Dec-12 21:36:08

There really isn't anything that will keep a 1 yo occupied during a long journey (iPad or otherwise). With all of my 3 when they were tiny we regularly (by which I mean every other w/e ) did 3 - 3.5hr journeys back and forth (complete nightmare really looking back, but no choice at the time). The only real option is to do your best to time the journey so that as much as possible coincides with sleeping. We always left either straight after lunch to catch the afternoon nap or at about 7pm (this was best) so they would fall asleep for the whole journey. We would do bath, milk and into PJs / dressing gowns then carry them up to bed when we arrived, they would usually stir and fuss a tiny bit on arrival before dropping straight off to sleep again.

When eldest was about 2.5 we did invest in DVD player that straps onto back of the headrests and that was a great success (for all of them, littler ones too, wished we had bought it when DD1 was 1 yo). It was a particularly useful distraction as the only thing I grabbed out of the car when sitting down a bank off the hard shoulder in the pouring rain next to the motorway on my own with 3 tinies waiting for the police after a blow out in the fast lane! Once they are slightly older story CDs are also v good but I can't imagine a 1 yo being that interested in them really.

luckysocks Thu 13-Dec-12 22:02:08

DS is fucked then. He LOVES technology and his problem solving capacity, fine motor control, number identification (I keep changing the password on my iPhone and he is undeterred) and his general ability to discover advanced functions and work out how to use them correctly blows my mind.

I also use it as a building block - for some reason he hadn't the slightest interest in letter recognition, for example, until I found an app for him. Now it's suddenly clicked and within a week he was drawing letters when colouring and could spell his name and wants to learn to spell other words too... it's the same principle as using a schema, I guess.

Obviously he's not allowed to spend all day glued to some device (which he happily would if I'd let him) but bad for brain development? I'm not sure I'd agree.

Watching with interest for good tips though, we've got another plane journey coming up soon!

luckysocks Thu 13-Dec-12 22:05:06

Sorry, that wasn't very helpful, it just made me a bit angry !

For us, stickers, colouring, a small new toy, and like others have said, timing it around sleep as much as possible. And the iPhone. And chocolate buttons. bad mummy

notnagging Thu 13-Dec-12 22:47:06

I would agree with travelling at bedtime

DewDr0p Thu 13-Dec-12 22:50:37


And in the nicest possible way, get over yourself re the in car DVD player.

eagleray Thu 13-Dec-12 22:54:53

No useful advice here as DD not due til Jan, but the thread made me smile as brought back memories of my own childhood as every year my family would embark on a 1,000 mile round trip to visit grandparents in a Morris Marina. The only entertainment I can recall was playing I-spy, and toilet stops were deemed unnecessary - instead a potty was provided to use (lots of spillages and falling off potty when we went round a corner). And we were constantly sick...

Most memorable of these trips was one where just as we arrived at grandparents' house and my sister (in her excitement at the prospect of being able to get out of the car) chinned herself on the back of the driver's seat and nearly severed her tongue. She still has the scar now from where they stitched it back together shock

I plan to tell DD all about our adventures in the '70s if she ever asks for an ipad to play with in the car smile

Zimbah Fri 14-Dec-12 13:18:14

We got a portable DVD player for a long journey when DD1 was around 3 and it was bliss! Before that we did the travelling at night/early morning, different toys, CDs, endless endless endless singing/car spotting/I Spy etc etc until I was ready to tear my own ears off.

I don't think a DVD would keep a 1 year old entertained for long though, it's a difficult age for car journeys. Little toys (raid the charity shops) in a bag, small toys wrapped up so she can tear off the paper, lots of low-choke-risk snacks.

FireOverBethlehem Fri 14-Dec-12 13:30:28

Take two adults in the car - one in the front and the other in the back with DS if they aren't going to sleep. I entertained DC for 2 1/2 hours up the M5 with a plastic bowl and spoon because we'd hoped he'd sleep, piled his toys into the boot before setting off, and then he didn't.

I think it's a bit young for them to entertain themselves - my DS wouldn't have followed a film at that age.

hokeycakey Fri 14-Dec-12 22:31:42

Agreed travel at night/ nap time it's the only way to do it

And seriously people are you really going to entertain a 1 year old in the car for a whole journey???? Give them books, magic slate toys etc but my advice would be let them be, they can look out the window/sing to themselves, kids really don't need constant entertainment from their parents.

And no I didn't know that technology is terribly bad for brain development must have missed that

If it gets really bad just pull over at next services and let them out for a bit

Misty9 Fri 14-Dec-12 22:46:33

Agree with pp, ds is now 15 months and we've done loads of 4-5hr car trips with him in the car seat, in the back....entertaining himself?! I guess he looks out the window, sleeps, plays with his feet etc. the kind of things baby's do smile we just stop every 2hrs or so and have to do this to swap drivers anyway (and refuel dh with caffeine).

Haven't tried stupid o'clock driving yet as last time we did the long trip we were both too knackered to drive Friday night so ended up leaving Saturday morning in the end! Won't do that again as far too much to come back the next day. As for technology...everything in moderation I say (especially at 4pm on a Friday when I'm tearing my hair out).

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