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long car journey with young children

(20 Posts)
Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 12:33:25

Any tips for surviving them?! Dd, 9 months is a nightmare in the car seat once she reaches her threshold for tolerating it - about 45 minutes. We're doing the 6 hour trek to Bristol next week... shock

Ds, 3.4, has always been fine on long journeys but will now scream if his sister won't stop crying. Fair enough really, it can't be nice to listen to in the back!

We're planning stops where dd especially can crawl about, but this is easier said than done! I'm contemplating making a detour to a soft play for a long break - has anyone done this? Worth it?

Any other tips welcome. ds is recently potty trained too.. its going to be a fun trip isn't it?!

GothicRainbow Thu 08-Jan-15 12:41:04

Will your 9 month old nap in the car?i would suggest leaving at morning nap time if you can as then at least some of the journey will be done while she is asleep and then when she wakes up you know you've got about 45mins to go before you need to stop for a break.

We recently did a long journey with our 19 month old DS and we put the iPad on a holder and let him watch his fav cartoons when he started getting fidgety. Made the journey so much more bearable!

marmaladegranny Thu 08-Jan-15 12:42:15

Would overnight travel make things easier? We always found this a good option as they slept and DH and I only had to worry about keeping each other awake!

PurpleWithaMysteryBun Thu 08-Jan-15 12:44:57

I would travel at night too, if possible.

Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 12:46:57

Hmm, napping; that's a whole other thread! grin 45 minutes is probably the longest she'd nap in the car and we'll be leaving at lunchtime so hopefully she will do her nap en route.

Overnight we may try on the return journey; we're renting a place so can't turn up at midnight. We tried it once with ds and it didn't go well, but he's older now she says, grasping at straws

MrsCurrent Thu 08-Jan-15 12:47:25

Will she sleep in the car if you go at bedtime? This was our failsafe method for ds1. Ds2 wouldn't so Dvd players were purchased which kept them occupied enough, your 3 year old could get some headphones which will block out his sister. We also fill a box with toys (even now they are older) to keep them occupied. If you have more than one adult, rotating seats is an option, when baby gets cranky the non driving adult can swap with the older child, or if just one adult turn off the passenger airbags and put the baby in the front. Pop those nappy bed mats under your 3yo but take the potty in the car (or a bottle if you're feeling brave, I have managed to catch ds2's effort whilst on the m25 without spillage shock). We factor in a stop about halfway if travelling in the day. Good luck!

CMOTDibbler Thu 08-Jan-15 12:47:48

If she naps in the car, I'd leave at morning nap time, then stop when she wakes up for lunch and a crawl/ play, then go again in the afternoon as near as possible to her afternoon nap.

For your ds, you may want to try my (skanky) lifesaving tip. Teach them to wee in an old coke bottle - the 500ml size works perfectly. It has saved us a lot of hassle when stuck in traffic or when they decide they are desperate when you've just passed a services.

SingRingPing Thu 08-Jan-15 12:47:55

If you want to be really brave you could do what we did in the summer - get up at 4.30am with kids still asleep. Even if they wake slightly the shock to the system will keep them docile enough to drop back off! When they woke at 7 ish we passed various breakfast items to them to keep amused. Stopped off for a walk/break/park trip. Did the last leg during nap time. Worked like a dream on the way home too!

addictedtosugar Thu 08-Jan-15 12:48:04

Can you set off about 4pm?
Do an hour, stop, tea, PJ's (and night nappy for DS), and set off again.
Hopefully DD will drop off before the screeming starts, and the night nappy means no accidents.

Littlef00t Thu 08-Jan-15 16:18:13

Dd 10 mo is more tolerant of the car. We regularly go 5 hours plus stops to visit family.

Way there: leave at 5am and stop at 7:30 for a couple hours breakfast and stretch. Leave just before morning nap and arrive for lunch. Usually cries for a bit at first at the shock then goes back to sleep.

Way home: leave just before morning nap and break for several hours at shopping centre halfway home, then come home last leg during nap time. Expect minor meltdown and feed snacks to pacify.

Once did the early start home and arrived shattered to cranky dd desperate to cause havoc. Not a good move!

Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 16:26:39

Headphones are a genius idea, thanks. Just testing it with ds on the ipad now and going well. I'll chat to the rental people about when we can arrive and whether it could be late. My only thought with leaving late is if it all goes pear shaped, we're much more limited with stops outside of working day. Soft play for example. Very early is another thought though we wanted ds to go to nursery before we leave to tire him out!

Hmm. Food for thought.

MrsCurrent Thu 08-Jan-15 16:33:53

Mine have kids jvc headphones that come in bright colours with stickers to decorate them which makes them appealing (so I don't have to listen to rubbish and can sing along to the radio!)

Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 16:38:52

little what do you do for stops so your dd can get a break from the car seat? I'm finding it a challenge to cater for crawling possibilities as well as running around!

Last time we did this trip we were going to leave late, then we were all ready early and twiddling thumbs so thought, let's go for it. It turned out to be 30 degrees, took us all day (10 hours) and was hell on earth!! Kids cooped up all day is not something we'll repeat if we can help it.

Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 17:09:21

Thanks Mrs I'm going to buy some tomorrow. Bonus, I don't have to listen to bloody in the night garden at home either! smile

dancingwitch Thu 08-Jan-15 18:39:12

What's your route? If you start a thread called something like "toddler/baby friendly stops on/near the M5" you will get a few replies from people who regularly do the journey. For example, I know of several soft play places, an NT place and a farm within minutes of the M5 on the Bristol/Exeter section and always head to those and stop there for an hour or so rather than do 20 mins at a service station.

Misty9 Thu 08-Jan-15 18:51:56

I have started a thread like that on travel advice, but no one replied...

The route is from Norwich to Bristol via a11, m11, m25 and m4. Exciting. I'm particularly stuck for stops on the m11 part near Bishop's Stortford if anyone knows it?! grin

Littlef00t Sat 10-Jan-15 21:01:19

On the way we just stopped at a service station with a costa. Had a coffee and bagged a table with low sofa so she could wriggle about on the sofa and floor after I'd bf, then went for breakfast and she was in high chair.

Way home we slinged her around the shopping centre, had lunch, and she spent a little while on the floor by a convenient fountain when dh had given up on sales shopping.

dancingwitch Sat 10-Jan-15 22:24:07

OP - I've PM'd you

Misty9 Sat 10-Jan-15 23:46:09

I've not had anything dancing ... would it be somewhere else? smile

Artistic Sun 11-Jan-15 00:15:50

Download the white noise app which can put most babies to sleep. Play it for as long as you need her asleep!

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