There’s no question, marathon car trips with a baby on board take a good amount of planning and organization. Today, Parents Ask expert Elizabeth Pantley, author of “The No-Cry Solution” series of books for parents, shares her tips for making road trips successful, fun and doable!
Q: We are taking a road trip with our 6 month-old this summer and I’m worried that with his constant need to feed and be held, the car ride will be disasterous. Any tips for making this an easy and enjoyable experience? Any way to get prepared?
A: In the hustle that precedes a trip, it can be easy to let things happen, instead of make things happen. Be proactive in making your trip decisions. Consider these details, to help make your trip more successful:
♣ Does your baby sleep well in the car? If yes, plan your travel time to coincide with a nap or bedtime so your baby can sleep through at least part of the journey. If not, plan to leave immediately after a nap or upon waking at your baby’s usual time in the morning. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your baby will behave differently than usual in the car just because it’s a special occasion.
♣ Can you break up the journey with stops along the way? The longer your baby is strapped in the carseat, the more likely he’ll become fussy. Planning breaks can keep everyone in a better frame of mind.
♣ When estimating an arrival time, have you factored in plenty of extra time for unplanned surprises? A diaper explosion that requires a complete change of clothes or a baby whose crying requires an unexpected 20-minute stop are just two of the things that can happen.
♣ Do you have everything you need to make the trip pleasant? Items like:
-Window shades to protect your baby from the sun and create a darker, nap-inducing atmosphere. -A cooler for cold drinks; a bottle warmer if needed. -Plenty of toys that are new or forgotten favorites saved just for the trip. -Baby-friendly music on CD. -A rear-view baby mirror to keep on eye on baby (unless a second person will be sitting with your little one) -Books to read to your baby.