9 hour drive with a spirited 2 year old - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 4 Old 04-30-2003, 10:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Help!! I am going to visit my sick grandmother who lives 9 hours away. Due to limited time we will drive one day, stay one day, drive home the next day. That is a lot for most kids to handle, but my ds is a very, very, very spirited child. He is extremely energetic (hyperactive) and easily bored. He also hates being in the car for too long and almost never falls asleep. I would avoid trips like this, but I really want to see my grandma in case I don't get another chance. Any ideas or suggestions for games and activities in the car as well as survival tips would be greatly appreciated!


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#2 of 4 Old 04-30-2003, 12:49 PM
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We are taking a 7 day road trip with our spirited 2 year old and I have some things planned to hopefully help. First is a stop every 2 hours to let her run around. With my small bladder this will probably be necessary anyway. lol!

The big thing is a surprise bag with little new toys and treats and games that I'm going to gift wrap. Every so often I'll pull one out and she can open it and play with it. I have shopped the 99 cent store and wal-mart and other places for just little things. Like a small coloring book, a mini magnadoodle, some small toy animals and dolls, a bubble bug that you fill with solution and blow, mini muffins, goldfish snack packs, a Pez dispenser, gummi bears, etc. Oh, and one for the adults too-- a kit to blow up those long balloons and make animals out of them. It was $1.99 at Walmart including the pump.

edited to add: buy or bring along a couple of kid music tapes or CD's too. Abi loves a couple of the wee sing ones. Another idea I've heard is if he has any favorite videos (forgot of you do TV or not), you can tape record the videos so he can "see" them in his head as you play the tapes in your car.

Hope your trip goes well and sorry about your grandma. :-(


7yo: "Mom,I know which man is on a quarter and which on is on a nickel. They both have ponytails, but one man has a collar and the other man is naked. The naked man was our first president."
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#3 of 4 Old 04-30-2003, 08:17 PM
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My parents are also 9hrs away, and my daughter (2 1/2) does surprisingly well with the trip.

A new toy every couple of hours - YES! We have a full-size magnadoodle - it fits nicely in her lap and is very entertaining.

Take audiotapes/CDs. You may have to listen to the same one over and over and over. I recommend Bear in the Big Blue House if you don't already have favorites. Tell yourself, "It's better than crying."

Know your route, and try to have some possible stops in mind. Just getting out and walking around helps a lot. In addition to the obvious rest areas, places that work for me are interesting stores or even small museum type activities. For example, on my route is a railroad museum where you can take a short trolley ride, and a really fun alternative energy store. But stay flexible. Don't stop if she's sleeping, but then realize if she's been asleep for a while you'll want to grab the first possible stop when she wakes.

Leaving as early in the am as possible helps me. Dress her the night before in comfy travelling clothes. Then, in the morning, I can stuff DD right in the car seat still sleepy, and I don't lose time trying to organize her before we leave. And, I am still feeling fresh when we arrive. But know your, and your child's rhythms.

Have food with you. Some suggestions: sandwiches with cream cheese or avocado or a nut butter. Cheese slices. Fruit slices. A sippy cup of milk, water, and juice. My daughter likes a 'granola' of cheerios, raisins, and cashews. I have one large container of this that I dole out into a smaller bowl, so that I won't have more than a handful flung across the car. Any favorite cookies or snacks. Leftover small pancakes are also good. I try to have a couple of small empty bowls so I can dole out more small portions.

Take a roll of paper towels and some extra water. Have a change of clothes for the child.

Accept now that your car will get food in the back seat, that whatever clothes you've chosen for him will get caked with assorted food items. He'll live and so will you. It's not worth getting angry over.
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#4 of 4 Old 04-30-2003, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the ideas!! It is a long, flat, boring drive with very few interesting places to stop (and most of the attractions don't open until May long weekend in a couple of weeks). I remember that horrible drive well from my childhood. I did find an interesting sounding transportation museum that we will stop at (he loves that kind of thing so extra bonus), other then that we will stop at any place that looks remotely interesting whenever necessary.

What I have figured out is that I am going to make activity bags with themes. I will use things we have as well as some items I picked up at the dollar store. I figure I'll have one of construction equipment (he is the only 2 year old I know who knows the specific names for each piece of machinery LOL), farm animals (great for singing Old MacDonald-he is great at animal noises), safari animals (another favorite), dinosaurs, etc. I know they will all get mixed up, but he will appreciate the themes (he loves categorizing things I even found colouring books and stickers to go with each one. Plus I found "I Spy" cards so we can try to find what is on the card as we drive. I think I will also head to the library and stock up on children's tapes and world music type selections. Lots of healthy snacks sound like a great idea too, maybe I will see if I can find some interesting, fun containers to put them in.
I gotta say I am really dreading the drive, we went when he was 4 months and he cried the whole way. It took us almost 20 hours because of all the stops and when we were driving I was hunched over the carseat nursing the entire time. If we could travel at night it would be so much easier, but that is not possible due to time constraints. Thanks again for helping me brainstorm.



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