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Old 05-18-2010, 10:42 PM   #1
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A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We will be driving to San Diego the 1st of July. It's a 14 hour drive and I'm insisting that we take it in 2 days because I am so paranoid about having a toddler in the car for that long. DS will be 19 months. He is super active and doesn't sit still for long. DD is 7 and she won't be any trouble, she loves to read and color and is totally mellow. I'm hoping to borrow a DVD player with the two screens so they can watch stuff, but I don't have any other ideas for dealing with or entertaining a toddler in the car for so long. Up until now I have avoided any long drives, the longest stretch was 3 hours last summer and DS was only 7 months at the time. Anyone BTDT?

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Old 05-18-2010, 10:48 PM   #2
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We drove from Salem to Salt Lake City last summer. We decided to drive at night so that DS would sleep basically the whole way. It wasn't pleasant for us. We were so tired the whole "vacation", but DS survived it much better than he would have otherwise.
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Old 05-18-2010, 10:59 PM   #3
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

I have 4, DD 8 and DSs 7, 3 and 16 months. We've done LONG road trips since they were super small -- Anchorage, Alaska to Nor Cal to Northern New York in 14 days when DD was almost 2 and DS was 4 months.

The key is taking walking breaks when you can and having LOTS of fun snacks and kiddo toys that he can keep close to him. We always get a new toy and movie before we go so they arent stuck playing with something they might get bored with quickly.

We convoyed from Columbia, South Carolina to Anchorage, Alaska via Seattle, Washington when #3 was 19 months and DD was 7 (I was 36 weeks preg with #4, #2 and DH were in different vehicle with dogs) and it was FUN! Well, freezing and long (5300 miles in 9 days) but still very fun. We listened to the Chronicals of Narnia audiobooks by Focus on the Family. Great investment!
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:44 PM   #4
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

Sorry this isn't any advice but WOW roguebruin you're a trooper!

I just drove from Baltimore, MD to Kodiak, AK via the Alaska Highway while 20 weeks pregnant and with two dogs. I couldn't imagine doing it with two young children as well... Although I'm sure I'll have to do it sometime in the near future.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:53 PM   #5
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We have done lots of long drives too, the most recent one was when DD1 was 3 and DD2 was 18 months. A DVD player with 2 screens, so your 7yo can have one and the toddler can see the other one would be a good investment if you think they'll use it. We had a DVD player for our trip, but it is one that's built into the ceiling of the car. Both kids were rear-facing and they both just tipped their heads and watched it just fine. We only watched a little bit of TV though.
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:08 AM   #6
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We regularly take trips of about 6-10 hours, and have since DS was born. DS is 4 and DD, almost 17 months. She is very active, but is generally a good passenger. We've driven during the day and at night (leaving around the kids' bedtime). For me (the driver), it's far easier to drive at night: less traffic, the kids will sleep at least part of the trip, as will my DW. During our daylight travel, we pack special treats (special snacks, small, quiet toys, a ball or frisbee for stops). We stop frequently and make sure to get out and run around for a while before getting back into the car. We don't have a DVD player in the car, and have no plans to buy one.

I'd take a practice trip of 3-4 hours roundtrip beforehand, if possible, to get a sense of how your DS might do, esp. if you haven't driven a longer distance with him yet.

If you're willing to drive all night, you could easily do a 14 hour drive starting at dinner time and getting in around breakfast time, especially if you have 2 drivers to trade off driving/sleeping shifts. (that's probably what I would do.)
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:45 AM   #7
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We are going to do this in August. Eeek! We just PT this weekend, so what about a newly PT toddler? You don't get much more than 30 seconds notice that they need to go.
I assume we take our potty with us. Do we just pull over on the interstate?
We have headrest DVDs. So that will help pass the time.
Food. Toys. Books.
We plan on splitting the 880 mile trip into 2 days each way, with lots of stops and a swim in the reservoir once each way(it splits the trip in half almost exactly).

The last time we did this trip, my youngest was 6 months old. We left super early in the am & the last BF session before we left, I put him to sleep in his carseat carrier.
He slept 5 hours! We got the first day's trip done by lunch!
It went well except we tried to do back the same way but figured why not captialize on his ability to sleep til noon.
Big mistake!
Never assume since your kid is doing well that you can do more. You are wrong!
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:45 AM   #8
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

I wish they'd figure out how to automatically delete double posts or automerge them.
Argh. Dbl post!
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Old 05-19-2010, 08:49 AM   #9
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

We did a 10 day long road trip with my then 10 yr old and my 2.5 yr old last fall. We tended to drive through a good portion of the day, and then make sure we stopped early enough somewhere they had a pool and swim long enough to tire them both out. We also have a DVD player in the car that is a lifesaver, as well as having a bunch of toys and books with us. While in the car, some rules are totally off. TV time isn't restricted at all. If they wanted to watch movies all day while we drove it was fine. We also brought a bunch of different kid music for them to listen to. And last, we stopped throughout the day (generally ate breakfast and dinner in a restaurant and lunch was a picnic) so they had some time to play outside. My 2 yr old had just potty trained about 1.5 mos prior so he got to call the shots on when he needed to stop and go potty. When we stopped, generally we took enough time for him to stretch for a bit.
P.S. We drove from the Seattle area to Glacier NP to N. Montana (for a visit to some family sites) to Yellowstone, to Grand Tetons, to Hells Canyon and back again. It was a fantastic trip! Have fun.
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Old 05-19-2010, 12:11 PM   #10
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Re: A little freaked about a big roadtrip with toddler. Advice please!

For those without DVD players, or looking for other options, we use children's books on CD/Ipod. There are great collections of kids books (curious george, etc.) available on CD (we found them at our local library), and sometimes they come with the book and it's a read along, and it tells the child when to turn the page to follow along. This isn't really applicable for the OP's 18 mo old, but older toddlers may be into it. DS was 2.5 when he started liking them.
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