My Advice For Roadtripping With a Toddler
Don’t do it.
But seriously. Just try and avoid it at all costs. Because last weekend my husband and I braved the 7 hour drive to Sugar Land to see my parents and it was epic. We had the snacks, we had toys upon toys upon toys, we had the iPad juiced up with downloaded Sesame Street as well as streaming programming (and a wifi hotspot for the occasion). We had the back up clothes, and diapers, and nap-time blankets and special binkies, and back-up binkies. WE HAD A PLAN.
As it turns out 18 months is a bad age for this. We did the same trip when he was 14 months, and it went much smoother, with much more napping. This time around, he was alert, he was ornery, he was RESTLESS.
He slept maybe 30 minutes the whole time, tired of his toys easily, and wasn’t really into snacks.
He wanted very badly to hold the iPad, but of course his thumbs kept pausing the screen. So I ended up engineering a headrest iPad holder out of mini diaper trash bags (in the picture above). Which worked for a while, until he decided kicking the iPad was more fun than watching the iPad.
We did discover that he enjoyed me singing to him and dancing along. Considering I’m half tone-deaf, I’m not sure how much my husband enjoyed THAT over the toddler whining. Hahaha.
At one point we tried to stop at Buc’ees in Madisonville, because I love that place and it’s like holy grail of road trip food and clean bathrooms, but it’s become so popular it was like wading through a crowded train station. There were so many people rushing around I couldn’t even put him down to walk for fear of trampling. It was THAT bad.
My dad, in his sage 1980s advice, texted me and suggested we take a pit stop to run off his energy at a McDonald’s play place.
- He’s too small to go in there by himself, and I’m too big to retrieve him if he gets stuck/scared inside.
- Do they even still HAVE McDonalds play places anymore?
- I don’t want to add one more MINUTE on to this trip, let alone 30.
His second piece of advice was a joke about sedation, but we don’t carry whiskey in the car. Lol.
All in all, it was worth it to spend the time with my family and for them to get some good grandparent time in, but LORD help me if any childless friend suggests or even tries to lure me to travel and visit.
These are the times I wish I had more mom friends. Maybe there were things I could have done to make the trip a little easier?