This past weekend, we piled the whole family in the car (including the dog), for the seven hour trip to Michigan. Where we stayed for approximately 36 hours before turning around and heading home. Insane? Yes. Especially since we have a toddler who gets antsy after about 15 minutes.
But we found ways to cope. And let me tell you, this required more than a little creativity on our parts. But our pain is your gain, because I’m going to share the top seven most effective ways to keep a squirmy toddler busy while strapped into a car seat.
- Get yourself a portable DVD player. And lots and lots of Sesame Street DVDs. This is something I told myself I would not do in the days before Tori, since TV rots their brains, and heck, car trips are supposed to be fun. Man, was I stupid then.
- Bring lots of books. Like a hundred. This will both make you feel better about all the DVD watching and keep her busy for about five seconds a piece. As an added bonus, all those books make excellent throwing devices when she decides to throw a temper tantrum.
- Present squirmy toddler with a sticker book. Preferably with some paper to stick them on, but expect the stickers to land anywhere and everywhere except the paper. NOTE: This might not be the best idea you ever had if you’re driving a rental car—you wouldn’t believe how far a kid in a car seat can reach.
- Feed your toddler lots of snacks. Cheerios are good. But you know what’s better? Anything with peanut butter in it. There’s nothing like a little peanut butter to fill ’em up (and glue their mouths shut).
- Put a tolerant canine within reach. Dogs provide oodles of fun for toddlers. Tails can be pulled. Feet grabbed. Ears yanked. And said canine? Can act as a cordless vacuum to dispose of all those cheerio crumbs.
- Invent games. Games like, “let’s see who can be quiet the longest!” And “look at the flying cow!” And “the one who takes the longest nap wins!”
- Invest in a good stereo. And music that sounds great loud. Because when all else fails? A little “Wanted Dead Or Alive” is sure to drown out all but the loudest screams.
So that’s what we came up with. What are your suggestions? I could use them, because we’ve got a twelve-hour road trip coming up this summer. I’m sure that will be even more, umm, fun. Right?