Do you know that it’s easier to travel with a baby than a toddler? Don’t believe us? Go and try to ride in a car with a toddler for an hour or two. They will jump up and down, ride on your back, try to get to the front seat, and snack like there’s no tomorrow. You won’t even have a second to appreciate the playlist you painstakingly created for the road trip. Forget about that audio podcast you saved on your smartphone. All you’re going to hear is the sound of Cocomelon from the backseat.
Babies are another thing. They’re easier to manage as long as they don’t know how to crawl yet. Bringing them on a road trip at around six months might be a perfect age. Younger ones will just sleep through the whole ride. But that doesn’t mean that bringing babies on a road trip will be a walk in the park. It’s still going to be a challenging and daunting task, but it’s just less stressful compared to bringing toddlers with you.
Schedule the Road Trip Around Their Nap Time
The best advice is not to go on a long road trip. Short-distance ones are better. A couple of hours on the road is more manageable than more than eight hours traveling from state to state. But if you have to do it, be smart with when you drive. Scheduling the trip around their sleeping or nap time is a practical solution to the dilemma of what the babies would do while strapped to their car seats.
Secure Them at All Times
It’s tempting to remove them from their car seats when they’re being fussy. Mothers will want to feed them or play with them. Resist the urge to do so. If you have to feed them, park in a safe place first. You should also make sure that they’re comfortable while strapped to the seats. Bring a couple of baby car seat covers so that you can change the covers when the milk or snacks spilled. You might be forced to remove them from the car seat when the cover gets soiled. Having an extra one is the safest option.
Get in the Backseat
Sure, you want to spend time with your spouse at the front. You want to reminisce about the road trips you took back before you started a family. However, your baby will look for your presence, so get in the backseat for some playtime. Use this time to bond with the baby. You can read some books or play a game. Bring some travel toys that will entertain both of you in the backseat.
Bring Their Favorite Snacks
This is a good time to reward your babies. Since they’re well-behaved on their seats, let them snack on their favorite foods, Remember not to bring sugary treats, though, because they’ll get a sugar high and become energetic for most of the trip. Good travel snacks are whole grains, cereals, fruits, cheese cubes, pureed baby foods, and rice cereal. Snacks will be a welcome distraction for bored kids in the backseat. You’ll get a few minutes of peace while they are snacking.
Listen to Good Music
Make a playlist of baby songs that your kids love to hear. This is especially helpful when they are bored in their seats. This is also a good opportunity to introduce new languages to them. You can, for example, play their favorite songs in another language. Kids have a faculty for languages. They learn easier and better than adults, so this is a good way to integrate foreign words into their language.
This cannot be stressed enough. You need to stop when you need to stop. You’ve got to drive when you can drive. When you have a baby with you, there is no definite schedule. You are bound to miss whatever schedule you set. A fussy baby might need some fresh air even though you’re trying to avoid the peak hour in traffic. You will need to stop in a public park and walk the baby around.
Road trips with the family are always fun. It’s something you take with you during stressful moments at work. You will “pull” from these good memories and all will be better again. But traveling with a baby is hard work, too. There’s no easy way to say that. You’re going to have to put in the work, but you’re also going to reap the rewards of spending time with your family. Nothing compares to that, of course.