Taking your toddler twins on a road trip requires some planning and patience.
We recently took a road trip across the country that ended up being 54 total hours in the car. Our family of six with toddler twins in tow did great and yours can, too.
Think Attention Span
Road trips with toddler twins are all about maximizing their attention span. Instead of a few activities or distractions that could occupy lots of time, think about lots of activities that have short durations.
Try shuffling car seats around during your trip. Perhaps this can be done every day you are driving or whenever you stop for a meal. We found that when the kids had a new environment in the vehicle, it helped keep them happy. The bonus was that when the kids argued over who got to sit where, we could appease them with the promise of moving seats later.
Road Trip Toys
Your toddler twins probably already have tons of toys. The toys that will best serve you on a road trip are new ones. New toys seems to grab your kids’ attention more easily than one they have been playing with the last several weeks. (That being said, if your twins are attached to a favorite toy or stuffed animal, don’t force them to give it up in favor of something new.)
Try digging up some old toys they haven’t seen in awhile. Alternatively, go to the dollar store and pick up some cheap new toys that would be easy to play with in the car.
Don’t give all the toys to the kids up front. Pull them out strategically during the road trip so you can maximize their distracting power.
Road Trip Books
As with toys, bring books your kids either love or haven’t yet discovered. Visit your local library and load up on books that you can take on your trip. If your kids don’t independently look at books of their own volition or if you get carsick sitting backwards and reading to the littles, try read-along CDs. You remember those, right? The ones with the chime when it’s time to turn the page? They can be found at just about any bookstore as well as at libraries.
Road Trip Music
Have favorite songs that your toddler twins like to listen to in the car around town? Time to make a Road Trip Playlist. The scenery will pass more quickly if the kiddos have a groovy tune or two to sing along with. Add a few of Mom and Dad’s favorites and introduce the kids to songs you like while you have a captive audience. Get loose and maybe even a little silly, and you’ll make some good memories with your kids.
Road Trip Games
Toddler twins might be too young to enjoy traditional road trip games like Road Trip Bingo or the ABC game where you look for letters on signs and cars. Nevertheless, they can probably look for trains, cactus, windmills or other obvious features that you can turn into an ‘I Spy’ game.
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Pack some healthy snacks that you can pull out at the opportune moment during the trip. You don’t want to have to stop every time the kids are hungry. Load up a cooler or bag with food to help you get further down the road before you have to stop. Food is always a good bribe for good behavior as well.
Put a Parent in the Back
Traditionally, Mom and Dad ride up front in the car. On road trips, try putting one parent in the back with the kids. This will work more easily if you have a mini-van or SUV. The kids are distracted because “Hey, Mommy is sitting by me.” The parent can then play with the kids or read stories to them.
Be sure both Mom and Dad take turns rotating with the kids to help maintain parental sanity.
When all else fails, you can use movies. Get a portable DVD player or iPod or whatever you have and let your kids watch movies. On our 54-hour road trip, we managed to go all but the last six hours before we needed to pull out the movies. We simply kept our toddler twins (and their older brothers) occupied with the aforementioned activities.
It won’t take long before your kids realize that there’s a difference between driving to a play date and spending a significant amount of time in the car on a road trip. It’s okay to let them get a little bored. It’s okay for you to not be thrusting the next activity in front of their faces as soon as the current one is over. You’ll smile as you see them get creative with entertaining themselves.
Good luck and happy trails!
Picture by auntjojo