We’ve all been there: You get your kids buckled in, back out of the driveway, and then you hear the noises. Maybe they’re whines for a different song to play. For me, it’s the sound of a toy being dropped by my baby girl. (Why do they drop the toy as soon as you back up?) The sounds may turn into chatter, neediness, and maybe even crying.
So how do you survive car rides with toddlers? How can we as moms keep them happy while maintaining our sanity? Here are some things I’ve learned over the years. And yes, this is one of those topics I continue to learn about as time goes on and on.
Coloring is calming
I buy coloring books anytime we are out and new ones appear. I like the magic marker books so young ones can’t color on their bodies or your car. Melissa and Doug water-coloring books are also a hit with my young ones. Coloring tends to calm them while keeping them busy. Scented markers and stickers are great for older toddlers.
I am not very good at this one. Try to keep toys new and updated in your vehicle. If kids aren’t interested in them, try rotating some new ones in. These can be toys you have at home, there is no need to go buy new things. Right now, beanie babies from happy meals are their favorite car ride toys. Musical toys are best for babies or even teethers like the Buddie Toys teether. This one even smells good!
My kids are much less fussy when music from their favorite movie is playing as we drive to our destination. If mommy is on the phone or it’s quiet, there tends to be more fussing, fighting, and tantrum throwing. Keep it fresh. We have several of their favorites on hand for when mommy gets tired of the latest craze. I can’t listen to Trolls for hours.
If you have a lengthy trip, consider having a basket for each child to use for their own toys, snacks, drinks, etc. I found it fun when we had a long car ride to go buy little treat at the dollar store. If they could get to the next stop without whining or crying, they got a surprise. I wrapped the dollar toys and it was fun. The small toy kept them occupied until the next stop, most of the time.
So what have you used to entertain your little ones in the car? How do you keep your sanity and eyes on the road? I’m convinced driving with little kids will never be fun, but it is at least an adventure.
Karyn Meyerhoff is a mom of three in Arkansas where she is currently planning a car trip with three littles on her own. Pray for sanity.