Parents with babies may be especially anxious about taking a family road trip. Between navigating naps, feedings and “restless car seat syndrome,” you may be dreading hours in the car with your baby. We’re here to help make things a little easier with our family road trip hacks specific to babies.
Baby-Specific Family Road Trip Hacks
Your tiniest family member may need some extra preparation to ensure a smooth ride on your family vacation. Try to spend a bit of time in the back seat playing with your baby. The stimulation may help pass the time. Here are some ideas to help out when you can’t be front and center:
Strategic Planning: Surely your diaper bag will be stocked for your trip but have you thought about planning around your baby’s schedule? Experienced moms recommend stopping around 30 minutes before a usual nap time to change, feed and stretch your baby. With a fresh diaper, full belly and a little mommy time, your baby may have an easier time napping in the car. Encourage everyone to rest while baby is sleeping (except the driver of course) so that no one wakes her. Some parents even put on a second diaper to ensure babies don’t leak during long car trips.
Sippy and Snack Cup Lasso: If your little one is able to drink from a sippy cup and pop snacks in her mouth, tether cups to her car seat or her seat’s handle or door so she can easily retrieve them if they are tossed about.
Cookie Sheet Activity Tray: Much like the game board idea for older kids, you can create a magnetic tabletop for your baby as well. Add magnets to blocks, shapes and other fun objects your baby enjoys and let her play away during your family road trip. You can even secure the tray to your baby’s seat with Velcro straps.
Tissue Box: As you know, your baby loves pulling things out of a box. (Hopefully she enjoys putting them back as well.) Give her a box of tissues and let her pull them out one by one for a safe and quiet activity.
Best and the Brightest: Buy a few new toys and bring along your baby’s absolute favorites for the road trip. This is the time to bust out your best stuff. Consider taping fun pictures to the seat in front of your baby or string items from the ceiling of your car that your baby can enjoy. Just make sure nothing heavy will fall on your baby and avoid any objects where she may get tangled.
Pom Pom Stuff: Grab a bag of colorful craft pom poms and a container with a small hole. Your baby will enjoy putting the pom poms in the hole and pushing them down. A clear container will allow her to see her work.
Sibling Play: Engage your older kids to help out with the baby. Provide puppets, books, and other fun toys that your bigs can show your little one. Although the play time may only last a few minutes, it can be just the distraction your baby needs to snap out of a fussy mood.
Music Class: Babies particularly motivated by music may enjoy a family sing-a-long. Make a list of songs everyone can sing together and have a music session whenever your baby starts getting fussy. Around family no one cares if you sing out of tune!
We hope these family road trip hacks are helpful as you hit the road this summer!
Sources: Life Hack, Your Modern Family, Kids Activities Blog, Momtastic, Choose to Thrive, Life Through My Eyes, Huffington Post, Moms 365, Child Development Institute, and What to Expect