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Long car journey with 2.5 yr old and am 7m pg - advice please?

20 replies

sooz31 · 29/07/2004 13:26

DS and I are heading off to see my folks in Shropshire (I live near Kingston). He's 2 and 1/2 and I'll be driving on my own with him - first big journey for us on my own.

I have paranoid visions of him un-doing his own seat-belt as I'm tearing up the M54...

Would be really grateful for any tips, suggestions, in coping with the 4 hour drive (plus ??, allowing for stops)... (thankfully we do have a/c in the car).


OP posts:
bundle · 29/07/2004 13:40

no. 1 tip: use the M6 toll road - costs £2 and saves me at least an hour on my journey up to mum & dad's (near manchester)

also stop as often as you need to. dd1 did take her arms out of her straps (then got stuck trying to get them back in, hysterically) at this age so huge sympathies. lots of tapes in car. special bag with change of clothes, nappies if necessary, drinks - all stops you spending loads at pricey service stations. make sure you fill up with petrol before the motorway and check your tyres. take some tapes - for you & ds! don't forget to take a mobile just in case.

blossom2 · 29/07/2004 13:44

DH & I drove with DD to devon (6 hour) when she was 2 years and it was a good journey. She somehow knew we were going away so didn't cause a fuss at all. She couldn't undo her seat belt but managed to get her arms free at times.

One thing is to start the journey when he is like to be most tired i.e we left at 11.00am, she napped at 12-1.30pm. we stopped at 2.00pm and then she slept again at 4.00pm. the stop gave her a chance to running around and therefore wear her out.

I packed:
favourite books - lots of musical ones, flip-the-flap & sticker books.
magnetic drawing board (with pen attached so can't lose)
favourite blanket/doll/teddy
lots of music taps and sang to her when she really got bored - loved it.
talked to her alot, when we could, played (very basic) eye-spy when in traffic jams

we put everything in a place that she could reach.
And we said beforehand we didn't care how messy the car was afterwards!!!!

Good luck & HTH

sooz31 · 29/07/2004 13:51

Thanks bundle - story tapes, of course, but, eek we only have a cd player in car...

do they do childrens' stories on cd - I've only ever seen them on cassette?

OP posts:
bundle · 29/07/2004 13:56

loads sooz, we've just got some BBC ones - some are whole stories, others a mixture of nursery rhymes and songs but they don't appear to be on the bbc shop website

bundle · 29/07/2004 13:57

oh and a box (we have some square plastic ikea storage ones) to throw a load of their favourite toys into, place beside their carseat and retrieve it all from the floor once you arrive, safe & sound

sooz31 · 29/07/2004 14:00

Thanks too Blossom.

DH and I have done loads of big journeys with DS, it's just now that I'm on my own it seems a much bigger deal (oh and the small matter of being 7m pg makes me feel that much more vulnerable!).

Your post is very reassuring though and yes, have planned to set off at a similar time to ensure max sleep.

Good point about not caring if the car gets trashed!

OP posts:
sooz31 · 29/07/2004 14:02

easy to hand box of toys - lovely thinking bundle!

OP posts:
fabarooney · 29/07/2004 14:24

We put together a bag (box definitely sounds better for the car, though) of interesting new toys and books as well as old faves. Doesn't have to be expensive. We found crayons and stickers brilliant distraction. Felt boards or magnetic playboards are great. Bloomin Marvellous did a kind of tray thing kids can put over their laps on journeys to rest things on. Don't know if they still do it, but might be useful.

Forget your normal rules re: healthy food and pack loads of interesting snacks. Lots of juice or water to drink. Have several nappies and lots of wipes beside you.

We've done quite a few 24 hour marathon flights between Oz and the UK and are now doing Holland to Cumbria via the Channel Tunnel on a regular basis so I sympathise entirely! IMO the anticipation of the journey is a lot worse than the actual experience.

Also a friend bought a portable DVD player to use on a long journey and she said it was brilliant. Rather an expensive distraction, though!

zebra · 29/07/2004 15:29

I normally hide away the noisy battery-operated electronic flashing alphabet Barney Teach them their numbers or alphabet toys. But in the car, after they've eaten, you sang them songs, they played with a few other toys, they had a nap, they had another snack, and they are getting very bored -- you start pulling the battery-operated toys out, one by one... Very effective on airplanes & long car journeys!

bundle · 29/07/2004 15:33

we also invested in one of those scribbler pad things which has a magnetic pen you draw with then erase the picture by pulling across a scraper thing. about a tenner in woollies.

bundle · 29/07/2004 15:35

oh and make sure you're a member of a breakdown organisation and if you do break down,god forbid, tell them you're a woman on your own even if you're somewhere you feel safe, they'll come pretty quickly.

Blu · 29/07/2004 15:36

I HATE doing long car drives on my own with DS! I have: sent off in the evening or at his bedtime so that he sleeps, set off an hour before his nap time so that he sleeps once he gets bored, relied on fiddly snacks that take ages to eat, like a whole apple, etc, we are also quite good at a version of 'name that tune' that he enjoys....Drive like the clappers and don't stop while he's sleeping, and stop lots when he gets impossible!
(I am expecting a speeding ticket in the post as I type...ooops)

zebra · 29/07/2004 15:44

ps: I haven't bought any of these battery-operated toys, all gifts from relatives!

sooz31 · 29/07/2004 19:17

Thanks for all the tips everyone!

OP posts:
sportyspice · 29/07/2004 20:02

I normally try to arrange long journeys to fit in around sleep times to reduce a little of the frustration of being sat in a car seat for so long! I have found that stopping can create problems when it comes to putting dd1 back in the car and have found it best to just get on with the journey and make sure all food, toys etc are close by. I do find apples a good "occupier" as they take dd1 about 40 mins to eat!

triplets · 01/08/2004 06:17

Good morning all,
I know my three are older, six, but I wish you could all have seen us yesterday on our journey home from France. We left the house at 9am and finally arrived home at 9.45pm, we live 10 mins from the port ar Dover. Two at the back and one in the middle in our Galaxy, car loaded front, back, top and bottom, get the picture? We had gone about 10 miles when it came.........are we nearly there yet? We stopped every 2 hours for a break, in between it was a constant round of........wheres my tape, can I have something to eat, can I have a drink, he keeps looking at me, Ive dropped my book, my bum hurts, I need a wee, I need a poo, its too hot, shes just hit me, he said I am deaf, he said I am stupid, when are we going to get there, I feel sick, its do you get the picture? Harry driving and me being a contortionist with a bad back from lifting the suitcases. The route was fine until we got to Rouen where we ended up missing our turning, Harry shouted at me...........cant you see on the map where we are, no I said, for Christs sake look, just pull over and you look I said, would he? No. So we spent the next 45 mins going round in circles. Eventually he stops, snatches the map and says, Ill do it myself! He does, and within minutes of getting us back on track he once again loses us and we head off back from where we came! So now here I am, its 6am, up since 5am after going to bed at midnight, too hot to sleep, cat throwing itself at the kitchen door to get upstairs, and the washing machine on its 3rd go! Was it all worth it? Yes! We saw a fantastic area of France, we were near the Puy de Dome, in the Volcanic park, the children were fascinated, took them down inside a volcano, went to Vulcania where it has everything to do and learn about volcanoes and the earth, so much for the kids to do, well worth a visit. They played in the wonderful garden from morning til night, watching the bats flying out of the barn, hunting for crickets in the dark with their torches, chasing chickens from the farm next door who were frequent visitors, along with the farm cats, they had a ball and I think have learnt alot. Not once all week did they ask for the telly, there was not one there and it was not missed..............but! Straight in the door last night and into cartoon network! Everyone still asleep, and I am going back to bed! Nice to be back on here though!

gscrym · 01/08/2004 14:53

We've just got back from a wedding (12 hrs driving over 3 days) and the portable DVD player worked a treat with DS (nearly 2). Argos are doing one for £100.

mckenzie · 01/08/2004 15:21

we went ot Brighton for the day yesterday and the journey that should have taken 1 and a half hours took nearly 4 because of weight of traffic and accidents.
DS, just turned 3, impressed me no end. HE didn't whinge until we actually turned onto the coast road and he could then see the sea (DH and I have been whinging for the whole journey!)
We'd gone prepared with snacks, a few favourite books and Postman Pat tape for emergencies and ti turned out to be the best car journey I've ever had with him. I was actually feeling quite proud when we arrived that he had been so well behaved considering.
The journey home took about 1hr 20 mins and he was asleep within 5 mins of being on the road so no problems there.

I was once told that the best thing when travveling with a child is not to set yourself a time limit so that if you do need to stop every hour to keep them happy then so be it.
We've got quite a long journey again next week and by the law of averages, it's bound to be a terrible one!

Maxster · 01/08/2004 17:20

Our saving grace with my son (3) was a personal stereo - Argos or Index £4.99 - and loads of story tapes and Disney compilations. One of the servise stations we stopped at , Tebay I think was doing Disney story CD's with the story book for £4 or so and they were BOGOF. Asda do a personal CD player for £8.87 if you prefer CD's to tapes!

handlemecarefully · 03/08/2004 08:43

After a recent 3.5 hour journey with my 2 yr old where she tantrumed throughout keeping up a constant hysterical refrain of 'out, out', we have vowed to drive long distances overnight in future (i.e set off at 8.00 pm), so that she will sleep for the entire journey...

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