We recently embarked upon a 6 hour car journey with a nearly 4-year-old and a 1.5-year-old who it is safe to say has shown a strong dislike to being in the car for longer than 20 minutes.
I panicked on the morning we were leaving and quickly asked the parents who follow Norwich Mumbler on Instagram for their top tips. Here’s what they came up with:
Cuddly toy, colouring or electronic devices/head phones for oldest and bribes!😂
Plenty of stops and Peppa Pig.
Give them a massive breakfast so they want to sleep it off!
Download every child friendly programme going on BBC. And snacks…all the snacks!!!
CBeebies soundtrack on Apple music followed by Andy and the Odd Socks album👍
At least three stops, two quick, one long with a picnic and play area.
Multiple stops to stretch legs, snacks, time it so you set off at nap time so they sleep.
Lots of food!!!!
Sticker books, books with flaps, Crayola magic colouring books.
If you are NT members, see about stopping at a property for a run around/snack.
Iplayer on iPad – you can do download shows.
Spotting brown signs and playing yellow car!
Bubbles, stickers, story CDs, dens from towels/sarongs with battery powered fairy lights, Lego/Duplo board blutac to tub lid bits in the tub, making up different endings to favourite stories, lacing cards or shoes if no lacing cards, brushing and clipping dolls hair. I did see someone using chalk pens on car windows but was with much older kids. Cleaning car with baby wipes is something else I’ve resorted to too! Good Luck!
We are about to do our 12 hour return drive tomorrow from France to Norwich. My successes were copious amounts of snacks, a charged iPad, a bag of toys wrapped (old toys just in wrapping paper) for the 2yo to pore through and eye spy!
Going further afield?
Mumbler blogger Kayti Mewis has just returned from her first abroad trip with her daughter. To say that she was apprehensive was an understatement…
“After 22 months we’ve finally done it and had our first family holiday abroad. And you know what – it wasn’t as awful as I expected. I never really saw the point of a holiday abroad with a little one – it wouldn’t be relaxing and they won’t even remember it! But actually that doesn’t really matter – you’ll remember it! This holiday was up there with my 30thBirthday in NY and the messy week in Ibiza back in my clubbing days, completely different but none the less some fantastic memories were made.
So here’s five things I’ve learnt from my recent holiday with my toddler, which should make your holiday one to remember – for all the right reasons
I think we took our daughter at just the right time. Last summer it would have been a lot more hard work – she’d just started crawling, was putting everything in her mouth, needed at least two big naps a day, we were still sterilising everything and using formula milk. Now, she’s walking, naps aren’t as stringent, we’ve thrown away that massive ugly steriliser and she drinks cows milk! Last year we went to Devon for the week and the car was packed full – I just couldn’t image trying to take all that on a flight!
Whilst we are on the subject of timing, choose somewhere you can get to within a three-hour flight and book decent flight times – I know they’re more expensive but I promise you it’ll be worth it!
2) Online shopping
I actually saw someone mention this on our Mumbler chat group before I went away and thought it was genius. I’d literally filled my suitcase with normal nappies, swim nappies, sun tan lotions, after sun, toiletries etc. etc. What I didn’t realise is you can order it all online from Boots and collect it from their store in the departure lounge. That’s right – after security – so no worrying about your liquids! If I’d have known this we could have easily have just used hand luggage and saved ourselves the best part of £50! Check with your airline before hand – but most have no restriction on hand luggage with regards to purchases after security.
3) The more the merrier
If you can go away with more people then do, take the grandparents, go on holiday with friends or extended family. We went away with my husband’s
sister and her family (her, her husband and four kids ages 21, 19, 14 and 8!). I can’t tell you how much easier this made things. My toddler loved playing with her 8-year-old cousin and my 14-year-old niece doted on my daughter – I felt like I had my own au pair! And all those extra adults meant more eyes on our daughter. When choosing your holidaying companions my top tip is to make sure little ones don’t outnumber the adults!
4) Kids need a break too
I cannot tell you how much me and my husband needed a break! The weeks leading up to our holiday were tough. I’d just gone back to work, we’d moved house and our lovely little daughter, who slept through the night from about eight weeks old suddenly went feral! She’d scream blue murder when we tried to bath her, would not go to sleep and would only seem to eat chips! Actually, that’s a bit of an exaggeration – she would go to sleep, but not until nearly 11pm and then only in our bed, with us.
I’d forgotten what an evening was like. I’d done the usual and scoured the internet as to why she was behaving like this – was it my new job, the move, a phase or god forbid was this just the new routine? Anyway, I was now armed with endless tips and advice on how to deal with all this. But that could wait – holiday first. We’d let our future, post-holiday selves deal with it. Besides, we thought her not going to bed till late would actually worked in our favour whilst away. So we didn’t worry about it all holiday, we just relaxed and took advantage of evening meals out with our little one.
And it would appear it wasn’t just us parents that relaxed – our daughter did too. We’ve been back a week or so now and my goodness- what a difference! Cot every night at 7pm with no tears, she loves bath time and has gone back to eating her vegetables! It appears kids need a break just as much as we do!
5) Take a book
In fact take two! Believe it or not you will have chance to relax – especially if you took my advice and went en mass! The sun, swimming and making sandcastles makes for one worn out toddler! After a good hour or so of splashing about my daughter would be knackered. We’d sit her on a lounger, in the shade with an iPad loaded with Peppa Pig and she wouldn’t move for ages! And those big lovely hour-plus afternoon naps made a come back! Plenty of time for me to relax and read a good book or two!
So if you haven’t already – get online and book that holiday – and if you have and like me were secretly dreading it – then don’t. I guarantee it will be a blast, you’ll make memories that will last forever – and even if you’re little one is too young and doesn’t remember it, if you’re anything like me you’ll have a thousand photos to show them!”