Monday, April 11, 2016

Thoughts on Road Trips with Kids as a Single Parent

I had an anonymous reader ask the following question, and I decided that my response was way too long to put in a comment so you all get to enjoy.

"What about a road trip as a single parent of a 23 month old who doesn't like to sit still for more than two hours in a car. Would your road trip blogs be helpful still or is there any thing different you would suggest? I've never gone on a road trip alone before let alone with a kid. From Tyler to Arkansas (5 hours away) to GA ( another 8) after a few days rest in Arkansas with my sister."

While I am not a single parent, I do have some experience with long car rides alone with my kids. We live almost 1.5 hours (one way) from the nearest grocery store, so as you can imagine we spend lots of time in the car. LOTS! In addition to our regular trips to town, I have occasionally gone on longer trips just the kids and me; like 3.5 hours to my mom's house or 4.5 hours from our last home when we moved and hubby was driving the moving van.

I do think that most of my tips from my first road tripping post still apply, perhaps even more so when you're the only adult in the car.
I feel like organization and accessibility are key here. You need to be able to tend to your child's needs and entertainment while safely keeping your eyes on the road. Ideally you would have everything you think you might need where you can reach it without having to look down to find it. I fill up a box or shallow bag with things like snacks, toys, pacifiers, etc and keep it on the passenger seat next to me. When we were moving and I was alone in the car with the 3 month old baby, I filled up all the cup-holders by my seat with pacifiers. That way when she lost the one she had I could easily grab another and pop it in her mouth without having to feel around for the last one. I also invested in one of these and I feel like it's a life saver when travelling with a rear-facing child!
Now, while most of my tips would apply as a single parent, some of the activities may not. This is where you really have to know the abilities of your child. If it were me I would probably introduce any new activity in the days or weeks before the trip to get a feel for which ones she enjoyed and could do well enough on her own. The last thing you want to do is get started on a long trip and discover nothing you packed to entertain your child is within their capabilities and you're now up a creek without a paddle! I have lots of fun, car-friendly activities here and here, but there are also lots of things elsewhere on my blog and my pinterest boards that could work too. I've added the label "Road Trips" to any of my posts I thought might be adaptable for car trips, feel free to check that out. If all else fails you could do what my sister and I did when we were stuck in the car with three tiny kids for almost 50 hours; put rocks in an empty water bottle, screw the lid on tight, and hand it to the kiddos. You wouldn't believe how long that kept them happy!

Good luck with your trip, my anonymous friend! I hope you and your little one have a great time visiting family and exploring the world around you!

*Diedre Mower is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to This post contains affiliate links.

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