A few humble tips for roadtripping with small babes
We are heading out to L.A. tonight to visit our dearest friends who are also Clèmence’s god parents. Since we live in Arizona, we always drive. We were at dinner with some friends of ours who just had their first child and they are getting ready for their first road trip with him. They asked us if we had any tips for traveling with kids. So I thought I would share a few things that I told her. I am by no means an expert on the subject and some of these things I’m sure you already know or are just plain common sense, but here are just a few things that have worked well for us.
1. Travel in the evening or at night.
Clèmence has never been the best napper, so we found that leaving in the evening works the best for us. She has had her evening bath, in her pjs, and will actually end up sleeping most of the way. There is much less crying this way. When we would take day trips, she would cry longer than she would sleep, but this way she is much more exhausted from the day and being dark outside obviously helps as well. Being in the car seat for long periods of time is even harder these days because these last 6 months she has been so used to walking around all day and we can’t blame her.
2. If you can, buy a few new toys or books just for the trip.
They don’t have to be expensive but have you ever noticed that when you are having a play date with some other children, that your child only wants to play with the other child’s toys rather than their own? Children lose interest quickly when they have seen the same thing for months. When we buy Clèmence a new book and a few small toys, they hold her attention much longer than her old ones…especially the books.
3. Be flexible….literally.
I know it is nice to sit in the front seat with your husband or vice versa, but sometime during those first few hours, don’t be surprised when you find yourself climbing over that car seat and into the back. If your baby is under 2, like ours, they can’t face the front to see what’s going on, so they feel alone and bored staring at the seat or luggage (wouldn’t you?). Sometimes sacrificing a little time in the front, will calm them down and give you some great moments with your child while you read, sing or play with them.
4. Towards their normal bed time hour, play softer music.
This will obviously just help them to relax and maybe forget that they are cooped up inside a car. I have seen some pretty incredible transformations in Clèmence’s body language when we just switched a song to something softer.
5. Be okay with stopping.
Traveling like you used to going 10 or 15 over the speed limit and only stopping once if it is a true bathroom emergency is long gone. Be okay with that and remember that you know how to change positions in your seat, but they most likely don’t. Make a stop or two and let them stand up or run around for a few minutes. It also gives you some time to cuddle with them. If you are breast feeding, I suppose this one is very obvious.
Here are a few things that we don’t leave home without:
1. The Rolling Stones Rockabye 2. Brown Bear Brown Bear Slide and Find Book (interactive so keeps them busy for a while) 3. Constellation Ladybug (so wonderful for night time, this ladybug lights constellations on the roof in three different colors, stops crying instantly!) 4. A Heart Pillow made from Vintage Fabric by yours truly (Clèmence loves to snuggle with it and when she is done, I use it to nap) 5. Mum Mums (a snack they will love)