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Active Toddler and a 4.5 hour car journey - any suggestions?

(10 Posts)
MsMittens Mon 17-Nov-14 14:35:22

Hi all

DD1 is nearly 2 and is a very active toddler. She is generally running about the place and playing and the thought of a 4.5 hour car journey to Wales on Friday for a family get together is filling me with dread. Any top tips from experienced travelers?

We have various Nursery Rhyme CDs, Talking Books with matching physical books for her to look through and we are setting off at nap time. We plan to break the journey into two halves stopping at a motorway service station with a soft play area for her to have a run around for 30 mins. while we eat a sandwich. Any other ideas??

(PS we are not keen on screen time given her age so Ipads etc. are not really an option)

worserevived Mon 17-Nov-14 15:33:03

If you can manage it the least stressful way of travelling with a toddler is to either set off v early morning, say about 4am, or travel late at night after bedtime. That way they sleep the entire way so you don't have to stop, or deal with tantrums. It does mean driving in the dark though.

pasbeaucoupdegendarme Mon 17-Nov-14 15:41:27

We had to get from Herts to Scotland earlier this year with a 24mo. Lots of books etc as you suggest but we forgot our scruples about screen time for the duration of both journeys and loaded up DH's iPad with downloads from cbeebies and a couple of new apps. Needs must, I think!

BarbarianMum Mon 17-Nov-14 15:57:48

Travel at night, with dc already fed and in pj. That was the only way when mine were that age.

Nightfall1983 Mon 17-Nov-14 15:59:24

I know you said no iPad so this post is just going to be annoying smile but anyway: DS is 2.2. We are a zero screen time family, none at all EXCEPT on long car journeys. I've been letting him use my iPad to watch films on long journeys (over an hour) for the last 4/5 months and I justify this to myself ( smile ) because a) it helps to keeping rear-facing in the car which is a safety thing and thus more important than my no screen-time principles. Without the screen for long journeys the temptation to turn him forwards facing in the car would be huge. B) the main reason behind not allowing screens for under 3s is that the alternative thing they would be doing would be better for them, at home if he is watching a screen then he isn't playing and using his imagination, this is less relevant in the car on long journeys as he can't really be expected to entertain himself using just his imagination for hours on end and finally c) it makes the whole journey more relaxing ours to all of us

Another non-screen idea that we use is a travel-sized aquadraw...

MsMittens Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:23

Thanks all, we will do doing the return leg at night but unfortunately we need to travel during the day to get there.

Thanks for the suggestions - we may reconsider our screen time rule for long journeys.

EmilyGilmore Tue 18-Nov-14 13:48:42

Does she nap in the day? I always timed journeys around naps.

fairylightsintheloft Wed 19-Nov-14 14:40:40

story / song cds? Means you have to endure them too but better than whinging / crying. Can one of you travel in the back with her to be more interactive? I'd also suggest more than one stop and maybe 2-3 short stints on a ipad or whatever, a couple of episodes of Peppa or something. We regularly do a 4 hr journey with ours now 3 and 5 and try to always do it at night, bath pjs, into car. We drive pretty much non-stop or just to change drivers and they transfer pretty well to beds when we arrive. isd it really not possible - will be less traffic also.

minipie Wed 19-Nov-14 16:02:32

Your options are

1) travel after bedtime/v early in the morning so she sleeps the whole way
2) rethink the screen rule
3) one of you sits in the back next to her and entertains her with stories, songs, toys, games, snacks the entire way (or at least the whole time post nap)
4) none of the above and just drive through the whinging/screaming

Perhaps if you have a more compliant toddler than mine you might get away with story/song CDs and not having to sit next to her and entertain her... but mine won't entertain herself in the car for more than about 10 minutes.

I'd go with 1) or 2) but up to you grin

Artandco Wed 19-Nov-14 16:14:49

In the morning, split parenting. One parent stays home and packs for journey/ sorts last bits out in house ie rubbish out/ quick tidy. Other parent takes child out for a walk in the park for an hour/ ( or around streets if park too far). Child walking not in pram obv so gets worn out ( hr quite a lot at that age.

Back, last toilet break etc, then in car. Use no books/ entertainment for the first 30 mins and hopefully they fall asleep of Bordem. If not add a story cd.

If child is asleep don't stop keep driving

Feed porridge/ rice beforehand as fills tummy and makes sleepy, and not so bad if car sick!

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