On the road again – kid style

We are road trippers.  Always have been, and, as such, our son has also become a road tripper.  He went on his first long drive ( not counting the hours we spent on the road trying to get him to sleep) at 3 months old.  We took a 3 hour trip to Whistler, BC for a ski holiday.  We’ve also taken him to Seattle (3 hours), Portland (6 hours), through Ontario and Michigan ( 2 days), and last year, we drove from BC to San Diego and Disneyland and back.  It took 3 days each way.  Oh, and did I mention that the kid is only 3 now?  People thought we were straight up nuts to take a not-quite-3 year old on a road trip to California.

You know what though? He loved it. So, in honour of Monday Listicles, here is my list of things I’ve learned while being on the road with a kid.

1. You do not need to have a DVD player in the car to keep a kid occupied.  We use good old fashioned books, music, and occasionally his LeapPad.  Those things got us through 6 days of driving last year.

2. If you teach your kid about the stoplight colours and what they mean, be prepared to hear things like “Boo, red light”, “Red means stop”, “Yellow means stop!”, and ” Hey Daddy, green means go”.  The joys of a 3 year old backseat driver.

3. Trying to keep a no food in the car rule doesn’t work.  Instead, I limit which foods he gets to eat in the car.  Goldfish = good.  Ice cream = not on your life, kid.

4. If you put it on, kids will listen.  I never know what kind of music the kiddo will like.  Some days he likes to rock out to some old school Van Halen or Ozzy, and other days he can dance it up to David Guetta.  We don’t listen to kids music in the car, except on those occasional days when I am trying to keep him awake after preschool.  However, even when he’s asleep, the peanut gallery occasionally pipes up from the backseat to say “I don’t like this song”.  Yes, he has opinions on the musical selections even when he is sleeping.

5.  The car is a good place to have a nap.

6.  Your car will never be clean again.  No matter how hard you try, you will always have books, toys and water cups in the backseat.  The best you can hope for is to not find smushed, soggy goldfish somewhere 2 months later.

7.  The day that you forget to send the child to the bathroom before you leave home will be the day that you will hear “I have to PEE!” from the backseat while you are hurtling down the highway at 100 kms/hour.  Between exits.

8.  My kid can spot a Starbucks or a McDonalds from a mile away.  Seriously.  If we are looking for something, like a Starbucks, we just ask eagle eyes to look for one from the backseat, and he can find one every time.  I don’t know where he learned that skill.

9.   Rest station bathrooms are even grosser when you have a kid.  At least when it was just me, I could make sure that I never touched the toilet with my hands.  The fact that some don’t have soap makes me cringe.  Thank goodness for hand sanitizer!

10.  There is immeasurable fun in stopping to play on the grass at a rest station during a long drive.  Even just kicking around a soccer ball or tossing a football for 10 minutes is enough to cheer up a grumpy kid.  Always keep something to play with in the car.

Do you go on long drives with your kids?  What are your tricks and tips?

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10 Responses to On the road again – kid style

  1. christina says:

    we’ve avoided a DVD player, too. i think it’s easier with one kid. that said, we DO listen to kid music when the princess demands. 😉

    • onecrazykid says:

      Hee hee! My parents have a DVD player in their van, so he’s experienced the joy that is mobile movies, but I so far, have not given in. My husband HATES kids music, so we are lucky that he hasn’t demanded too hard yet. He’s more than happy to listen to what we like. 😉

  2. Stasha says:

    That’s great! We drove across Europe twice with Little J before he was three. It really was a breeze, so much better then expected. I like how you approach not just your road tripping but parenting in general. We would totally hang out at the playground 🙂

  3. I am so glad to hear you don’t need a dvd player for the car! I am totally not planning on getting one!

    • onecrazykid says:

      My parents have a DVD player in their van, so I will leave that as a treat. In all honesty, I have brought our little portable one along with us a few times, but he’s never even asked for it. That makes me happy. 😉

  4. You are a mother after my own heart! While we haven’t driven as far as you with our two yet, we have no extra technological devices in the car. They listen to music, sing along, play with toys, look at books,snack, and stare out the window. They’ve never known any different and so they’re awesome in the car because of this.
    I’m impressed with the 3 day drive to Disney!

    • onecrazykid says:

      That sounds just like my little guy. Sometimes I will try to talk to him in the car and he will just say “no. I’m reading” or “no, I’m just looking”. It’s funny. I’m so glad that he likes the car though, as it makes things way easier for us to just pick up and go.

  5. ncries says:

    Good for you guys! As you know, we are planning a little road trip to Portland in a couple of months (and very excited to be bringing our then 9 month old baby) and everyone we know thinks we should leave him home! What fun would that be? The next time anyone says something, I’m reading them this blog post! 🙂

    • onecrazykid says:

      Thanks! You guys are going to have a great time in Portland. I’m hoping to get there soon too, my dude needs some new clothes and it’s a great place to get them. Plus, the Zoo and Children’s museum there are fantastic!
      If I can help with tips, or to say “see, it *can* be done anytime, just let me know. 🙂

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