Thursday, December 1, 2011

Driving Miss Baby!

Miss Baby asleep in the car seat!
During our most recent excursion, we had to prepare ourselves for many long hours in the mini-van with two teens and a toddler.  Obviously, keeping Miss Baby happy was of utmost importance for the sanity of we weary travelers.  Just in case you too will find yourself traveling home for the holidays, here are a few do's and don'ts with baby on board!

  • keep favorite toys, loveys and blankies nearby for quick retrieval.
  • bring special books or toys that are only reserved for car trips or splurge on something new. We were entertained for quite a while with Miss Baby's new Merry-Oke microphone. She kept hitting the buttons to play Jingle Bells and would sing "Ha Ha Ha" to the tune...we were literally laughing all the way!
  • remember coolers and ice packs for milk, formula, juices or snacks that won't keep well in the car.
  • pack plenty of kid friendly snacks for those miles between rest stops.
  • extra padding for car seat. We have an insert plus a piddle pad. Inevitably, Miss Baby will have at least one longer stretch in the car seat where she may leak through or spill.
  • take advantage of your radio, CDs, DVDs, MP3, iPad, iPod, Kindle, Nook, smart phone or any other electronic devices at your disposal that may keep your tot and teens occupied, distracted or otherwise engaged. This can provide some much needed respite for the driver from typical interrogations of ETA and refereeing sibling spats.
  • take a break and let your toddler out for a walk, diaper change, potty break, snack or just a bit of fresh air. It will do the whole family good to get out of the car for a bit!
  • consider your tot's temperament. Are they shark like, needing to keep in a moving car to stay asleep or will they transfer easily to the crib for the night? On our latest adventure we chose to drive through the night and found Miss Baby woke up when we pulled over in the wee hours of the morning for a quick snooze at a rest stop. Once back on the highway, she was sound asleep!  
  • keep baby awake if you want her to sleep at the hotel. Otherwise, you may all be ready to hit the hay while your toddler decides to recite the ABC's or play for the next few hours!
  • plan your rest stops around baby's schedule if you are still nursing. It may mean a few extra hours to the trip, but will make for a more comfortable ride for you and baby in the long run!
  • bring a pillow or blanket for yourself or older kids to grab some sleep for those hours while someone else is driving.
  • enjoy the time with your family in the confines of your car. Play road games: 20 questions, license plate poker, count the cows, alphabet game, numbers, etc. Your little one will soon learn that family trips can be fun and will enjoy the laughter that ensues!
  • leave crayons to melt on the floor, door jams or seats...speaking from experience here.
  • forget extra bags for trash between rest stops. It's also important to remember to throw them out when you get home or you may find some surprises...again, experience!
  • forget the diapers and wipes!  Pack them in several different bags, so you will not be stuck in the hotel with an empty diaper bag in the middle of the night, sending hubby back to the van to search for the box of diapers...need I say it? That's right...experience.
  • yell too loudly at your teens while baby is sleeping...uh...hypothetically!
Happy Trails!

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