Ever since my son was a little baby he has not liked the car, in particular long trips. It has gotten easier now that he's a toddler and we can use things to entertain and distract him. To benefit other parents I have put together our list of tried and tested items to bring and things to do to make car journeys more bearable, and dare I say, fun at times.
Snacks & drinks
Having a supply of healthy, low sugar snacks can be a lifesaver in the car not only to keep your child's hunger at bay but also to provide a distraction. I find baby rice crackers and snacks a winner and fruit fantastic. The important thing is to limit the sugar intake so my advice is to avoid chocolate and sweets unless you want a hyper, sugar fuelled child on your hands. It is always important to have a drink for your child, my preference is to give my son water.
Entertainment kit and activities
I have a set of tried and tested toys and activities that work for my son. These include lots of stickers, books, a travel sized colouring book and crayons, finger puppets which we make stories up with, a car steering wheel and controls which attach to the car seat and my iPhone or iPad which is loaded with lots of kids apps.
Along with bringing things to keep him entertained we also play games where we count the numbers of cars and trucks we can see out of the windows, look for aeroplane vapor trails in the sky which my son loves finding, and try to spot trees, birds, cows and other animals as we drive along.
Temperature and clothing
Avoiding getting too hot or cold in the car is important especially for kids. We are lucky in that we have air con so it makes things a lot more comfortable.
Dressing in comfortable clothes that can be layered up or down is a good idea too and if we are going on a long trip I find it helpful to bring my son's favourite blanket as he loves snuggling up with it if he gets tired.
If your child is like mine was and tries to escape from his carseat I highly recommend getting a Houdini Stop Carseat chest clip. This worked fantastically well to put an end to my son's dangerous escaping antics while strapped in his carseat. We had far too many scares with him wriggling free before getting one so it has definitely given us more peace of mind. You can read more about the Houdini Stop Carseat Chest Clip here.
Where possible we always try to give ourselves plenty of time when travelling, as with children it is a good idea to factor in time for stops in case you need to deal with nappy changes, toilet breaks or to just simply stretch your legs and get some air.