Going on long car rides with children!

  • Hello everybody.  This Winter my husband and I are taking our two children who are the ages of six and 1 to Disney World in Florida.  We are driving from New Jersey to Florida!  The drive takes 16 hours and we will be stopping overnight and doing 8 at a time.  I was wondering if any parents out there have taken their kids on this long of a drive.  If so, does anybody have any tips and how did it go?  Please help!

  • Hello there. I have been on many long car rides wiht my daughter. So fat the longest has been 7 hours pretty much back to back. I won't lie taking a one year old on a long car ride can be stressful once they start getting restless. Does your one year old walk and climb yet? One of the tricks that we use with our daughter, who is now 18 months, is we stop for a longish lunch and let her run off her energy. Since you will be driving in the winter look for places like McDonalds and Burger King with a play area. In the morning before you take off it also helps to get some of that energy ran off as well. Other things taht help make the trips go a little better are board books (the ones that make sounds keep my daughter enterttained for longer periods of time). It may be a good idea to get a portable dvd player (you can find some really good deals on dual dvd players, especially if you wait until black friday). Bring an array of favorite toys, the ones with buttons tend to hold their entertainment value a little better. But really it shouldn't be too bad since you will have your 6 year old as well. He/She can help with playing with your toddler and keep the fussing to the minimum. As far as packing stuff for your 6 year old is concerned i would get thier back pack and fill it with activity boks, coloring books, crayons, a couple of reading books, a couple of dvds (if you plan on using a portable dvd player). maybe download a couple of games onto your phone if you have that kind of phone. or maybe take a game boy. bring some kid friendly music (Raffi has become a HUGE hit in our household) All in all you should be just fine as long as you pay attention to your childs frustration levels and let them stretch their legs often.

  • Brinny did an awesome job with this question!  I've also found that DVDs and CDs with sing along songs are very valuable.  You might consider getting some coloring or picture books that your kiddo hasn't seen yet so they are new and very interesting for the drive.  Then I think stretch breaks like Brinny suggested are very valuable as well.  Any running/playing/tumbling time you can get so that a nap might then be needed will offer some much needed car time relief for mom and dad!

    Let us know how the trip goes, It sounds like a blast to me! :)

    -Jess

  • I second everything that Brinny said. We routinely drive 12 hours to the beach with 5 small kids in the car. We try to go for naptime and make sure we drive a bit at night so they sleep a little in the car as well. The DVDs are a huge hit--be sure to bring old favorites as well as new ones that they've never seen before. Books, snacks, and coloring are huge hits and don't forget iPhones!

  • Funmom-wow, you got tons of great advice here! I hope you have an amazing trip to Disney World!! What a great memory. :-) I'd say to pack your sense of humor! I've done a lot of long trips with my kids and if I remember to just laugh when it's all going psycho, things have a way of working out. Good luck!

  • Thanks so much everybody!

  • Great advice from the previous posts! We have had luck with our kids taking them right from bed at the crack of dawn and putting them with blankets right into their car seats/booster seats. We drove from NJ to Canada last year and we drove for four hours before they even woke up. When we stopped to eat, we did so at a restaurant that had a play area and let them stretch their legs and expend some energy before a potty break.