ru en

Tips for road-tripping with a toddler

from 1 year 6 months to 3 years

When the open road calls and you’ve got a toddler in the back seat, your travels will be anything but quiet and dull!

These are some tips to help you:

  • Install a car seat (in the back seat of your car), and make sure that it has the correct weight and height limit for your child’s size. A rear-facing car seat is safest for kids younger than 3 years old.
  • Pack a diaper bag with the essential items you’ll need for the trip. Be sure to bring a very liberal amount of diapers and wipes - more than you think you’ll need. You never know when you may need extra. Pack two or three extra outfits to change your toddler into as well. Over-the-counter pain relievers and other kid friendly medicine is recommended, in case they get ill or a stomach ache, for example. Place a blanket in the diaper bag to keep your child cozy during nap time on the long ride. And definitely pack their security object (blanket, toy), if they have one.
  • Get plenty of toys and activities together, and put them in a box or bag that will fit comfortably in the back seat, and offer easy access. Suitable items include musical toys, stuffed animals, manipulative toys with buttons for pushing, coloring books, crayons and figures for pretend play. Pack picture books for reading and electronics that will help keep your toddler busy during the drive. Books are great for long rides, so be sure to ask stock up, and ask your kid if they’d like to pick some books out themselves before the trip. Consider borrowing or buying some new ones, to keep them interested and not become bored by old books they’re familiar with.
  • Toddlers are slow eaters and they like to play with their food. While it’s usually not helpful when you’re in a rush, it can work out in your favor during a road trip. Pack food and beverages for your toddler during the drive. Add your toddler’s favorite foods to help keep him/her happy, such as bananas, sliced cucumbers, fruit pouches, yogurt, crackers, whole-grain bread and cereal. Use a small cooler to keep refrigerated foods cold. Supervise your toddler’s eating carefully for safety. Strive to provide healthy foods for your toddler, but an occasional deviation from the healthy norm won’t harm your toddler’s overall health.
  • Try to time your travel around your toddler’s sleep schedule. If you leave before nap time, it’s likely your child will fall asleep, hopefully for a few hours, comfortably in their car seat. Leaving in the middle of the night with a sleeping toddler could also give you some peaceful travel hours.
  • Stop and stretch often when your toddler is awake. Look for rest areas near parks, or just open areas where you can play for a little while before continuing on.
  • Talk up the trip! The odds are pretty good that your toddler is already looking forward to the final stop on your road trip. But toddlers are pretty excitable, and will probably get more and more excited the more you talk about the trip. Explain in advance what’s going to happen in kid-friendly language. For example, instead of waiting until the day of and hopping in the car, you can build enthusiasm in advance by talking up the drive – “In 2 days we get to drive up to the mountains! We’ll get on the highway, and drive past some farms where we can look for cows and horses, we’ll drive through tunnels and see how long we can hold our breath, and we can count all the bulldozers we see!” If they see you’re excited for the trip, they’re probably going to emulate you and take on your excitement, too.

Make photos of your little traveller and upload to the App. Write briefly about your car trip with a toddler.

If you enjoyed this activity, you may also like the following activity, too

By signing up or otherwise using this website, you accept and agree to Terms of Service and Privacy Policy

Content is available for users with Gold status

You can purchase it in mobile applications for iPhone and Android

Paywall illustration