Long Car Rides

Posted 04-26-2012 at 08:00 AM by Krista

Every parent comes to know the hard truth that traveling with a child for long periods of time can be challenging. Especially so for younger kids that can’t yet entertain themselves. For the Easter holiday my husband decided to rent a car for the two hour drive to my grandmother’s which became a four hour haul counting both ways. He chose the one with the DVD player because turning on the television instantly grabs and holds their attention, particularly when they are strapped into car seats.

I used to be strongly against the use of dvd players in vehicles and still am skeptical, though I will admit that it makes the drive much more pleasant for everyone involved. The main concern, of course, is that adults have—and will, certainly—lose focus on their driving while paying attention to the movie. While the models coming out today do not allow the driver to watch unless the car is in park—during which the screen up front in the console switches on—accidents do happen.

I know there are more and probably better ways to make a car ride more bearable. I can’t wait for license plate games and singalongs. My girls are both three and under, and can’t read—nor have either memorized song lyrics—so that will be a little while. Nor can we afford to rent a vehicle each time we travel. Kids keep us creative, always searching for solutions to life’s everyday problems. What are some of your solutions for road-trip boredom?

Filed Under: General


6 Responses to “Long Car Rides”

  1. Poox2 on April 26th, 2012 10:00 am

    I recently completed a 10 hour (each way) car ride with my twins (19 months), just me and them. I wouldn’t have made it without my DVD player! They really aren’t that expensive anymore- much cheaper then renting a car anyways. I try to have them watch more educational DVDs (mine love Baby Signing Time). When DVDs loose there thrill I talk to them about what they see outside- we passed through some windfarms they really enjoyed. We also practiced animal noises…glad I was riding with no adult company :) I also leave before nap time and plan stops for meals and playing at a park or two along the way. I admit I also pack some foods that I normally do not give them for emergency outbursts (a few suckers, fruit snacks and juice boxes). In the end my 10 hour drive ends up being closer to 12 or 13, not too bad considering the passengers!

  2. Nerissa on April 26th, 2012 12:40 pm

    We have portable DVD players that attach to the back of the head rest. They are a life saver. I only put them in the car if the drive is longer than 2 hours. My boys (5 and 3) do just fine with books or small toys for any ride less than 2 hours. We took a trip that is 6hrs when my first was 18 months. the drive there was okay with his toys, books ect. But after 3 days of not great sleep, messed up naps, and just overall busyness of visiting family, he cried the first 3 hours before he finally fell asleep. After that experience we bought DVD players.

    I also pack an assortment of toys, books, stickers, paper, colors that they play with also. Plus snacks and drinks.

    I think it also makes a difference if the kids are use to long travel. We frequently drive the 45 min to my parents for the evening. 3 hours each way in one day every few months to visit family. We have done longer car travels since they were babies. DS2’s first 3hr trip was at 4 weeks.

  3. jessnic on April 26th, 2012 2:20 pm

    We use a portable DVD player for long car rides. In DS’s first 8 months we made a long car trip about every 6 weeks that were at least 6 hours each way. Once he stopped just sleeping the whole way I caved and did Baby Einstein DVD’s. LIFE SAVER! Especially since the majority of these trips were just baby and I.

  4. medireh09 on April 27th, 2012 4:08 pm

    We use headrest mounted DVD players in both of our cars. My son has CP and being strapped into a carseat can be very uncomfortable for him. He is two years old, so not old enough for reading to himself yet, or really any other car game. We found that a DVD can help him relax and keep his mind off his position. We travel 90 minutes each way two times a week for his medical care for a number of different issues. The headrest mount allows us to keep him rear-facing and entertained. (We mount in the middle, both kid’s seats are installed outboard). The baby (3 months) still sleeps anytime the car is in motion, but I’m sure it will be nice for her as well when she is old enough to care.

  5. lilac0226 on April 29th, 2012 2:40 pm

    I have been blessed with children that miraculously do well on car trips. I often make a 4 hour drive and a side from a potty break can usually make it without screaming. The only tricks I have are snacks, snacks and more snacks, seems to cure all with my kids. And talking about fun things we are going to do. They usually sleep at least half the way too.

  6. aphlbrck on April 30th, 2012 6:37 am

    We have to travel to visit family at least twice a year and it’s 12-14 hours each with. We have a 7, 4 and 2 year olds and have found that books on CD, which we get from the local library, work really well and my husband and I actually enjoy them too. We are big fans of Junie B. Jones, Encyclopedia Brown and the Magic Treehouse series. We have tried DVDs but they just don’t work for us (2 year old pulls the cords repeatedly and the kids just argue about the movies, volume, viewing angle, sun, and anything else you can think of).

    We also schedule in a stop at a rest area, weather permitting, with a large playing field and bring out the soccer ball or frisbie for awhile or schedule a stop at a Chick Fila (sp?) with a playplace.

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