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During the Christmas holiday, there is every chance that you will be taking a long car journey with your little ones to visit family or friends away from home. We nearly all dread this element of time away from home, but with a little help it needn't be a total nightmare. Here are some tips!
Travelling with a new or tiny baby. Pack up the car and then feed well and then leave quickly. Hopefully they will be lulled to sleep by the motion of the car, and you'll have a nice, quiet journey. When the next feed is due, try and stop around this time and feed in a service stop or somewhere calm and warm. Then head back on the road, and they are likely to nod off again. Keep some favourite toys nearby so you can clip them to the car seat if they wake and need amusement.
Travelling with toddlers. This may be a bit more of a challenge as they get tired and bored and restless sitting in one position in a car for too long. It's understandable, really!
- Leave really early before the morning rush hour. Transport your toddler to the car whilst still asleep and get most of the journey under-way before the traffic gets busy and before the little one wakes up!
- Have a sun shade in case low winter sun streams in through the window. It can be very irritating and cause lots of trouble for a toddler if the sun is directly in their eyes.
- Get a rear seat mirror especially if you are the only driver so you can see what's going on without worrying too much and turning round in traffic.
- Plan stops so you can all get out and have a run about to stretch legs and get some fresh air. Every 2 hours is probably best. Change nappies and have a toilet stop even if you don't need it.
- Attach a box on the seat next to the toddler with a few toys, colouring and crayons etc. so they can go through the box and help themselves rather than you trying to pass over things during the journey.
- Play games: the old ones are the best! I-Spy, Spot a Red/Green/Yellow car, First to see a... (lorry, telephone box etc).
- Have all you will need in the change bag including bottles, milk etc and all changing things. Searching through the suitcase to find a clean pair of trousers can be very frustrating and time consuming.
- Have lots of dry snacks for the journey to keep hungry tummies full and active fingers happy!