Long Distance Travel With Kids
Some new rules apply.
We recently embarked on a long trip with our daughter to the tune of an eight-hour drive.
I know there are many families who have done much longer than that. But at the end of our summer, a regular five-hour drive was not the happy jaunt it used to be.
Our daughter was very restless and bored despite the books, toys and other fun things I had packed for the trip.
It’s not easy for anyone sitting in a car for long periods of time. Toddlers are no different but they don’t always understand that there is an end to the journey.
I always try to seek out fun places to stop along the way, like country farms and other good places to stretch our legs. But sometimes we pass the good ones while she’s napping and a simple lunch and bathroom break is as exciting as it gets.
So prior to the next long drive in the minivan, we debated what to do.
I was really hesitant to introduce a DVD player or other video player. I didn’t want to “lean” on TV to make the time pass. After all, when I was a kid, TV in a car was not an option. Somehow, my parents got through it. And we did long drives a lot.
But alas, my husband and I decided maybe it was worth a try. She’s not into movies or anything longer than a half hour, and the only thing she’s ever seen is Sesame Street, the occasional Laurie Berkner video and this other video about the Wheels on the Bus.
We have an iPad so we thought we could download what we needed to it and stream Netflix when we were able. We found an amazing holder that attached to the back of the headrest. The rest was history.
Our daughter chose to watch Wheels on the Bus about five times on the ride there and three on the ride back. So we definitely know that show by heart. But it did help her in between bouts of being done with toys and singing songs with mommy.
I may have failed some kind of parenting milestone by not being able to prevent tantrums of boredom in the car without the help of some kind of TV device. But all I know is everyone was a lot happier when we reached our final destination.
And we all know the words to the Wheels on the Bus backwards and forward.