Maybe you’re traveling with a baby this Christmas or even a small child. Maybe you’ve invited home your son or daughter and they’re traveling cross-country just so you can see your new grandchild. We’ve all been there before in some way, trapped in the horror that traveling with children can be.
I have no child of my own. I do however, remember the summer of 1996. That was the summer after my baby brother was born, the summer my mother had it in her head that we should drive from St. Louis to Denver, and the summer I realized my mother was crazy.
Don’t let that innocent looking child fool you for one second. He found it hilarious to scream across Missouri. And Kansas. And Colorado. I won’t even get into what happened when my parents decided to stop at a hotel for a night and we somehow got stuck with 5 people in one bed due to a convention (See: Crazy Mom). We apparently didn’t learn our lesson either because we somehow ended up with trips to Branson and Arkansas with a screaming baby and toddler before he finally grew up and screamed because he left Barney at home or because he was jumping off Hawaiian cliffs into the ocean.
So how can you avoid the perils I once experienced?
Distractions/Bribery. I’m not sure there’s a difference.
Andrika on Project Nursery has created a guide to Top Toys for Traveling. She features blocks, mess-free coloring books, a reusable sticker set and games. She even includes a nice gift idea for the poor caretaker of the screaming child. Check out her great ideas.
My top picks:
Finger Puppets, $8.15 on Amazon
Use them as props, in a performance or as cute little animals making funny noises. Older children can put on performances of their own.
The Wiggles, $12.08 on Amazon
I can’t explain why or what The Wiggles are but they have some sort of mind control power over small children that you can’t help but love. Sing the songs, dance the dance to stop the screaming and wear out the child so they’ll nap and you’ll have some silence. Or at the very least, another chorus of “Hot Potato” to sing to.
Ergo Baby Carrier, $110 on ERGObaby (other versions start at $105)
Some babies love cuddling and swaddling to calm them down and an Ergo replicates that same feeling to comfort babies. Plus, by baby wearing you avoid having to bring a bulky stroller with you in a car or on a plane. Your hands are free to carry luggage, take pictures and enjoy your trip without ever losing your child. Mom and dad can both find a baby wrap that they’ll share.
And grandparents inviting your family to visit you cross-country–send a gift along with your invitation as a sign of good faith.
Image Credits: Personal Photo, Amazon x2, ERGObaby