Tuesday, August 7, 2012

road rules apply

We are about to embark on one of my worst fears since having a child of my own.  Family vacation/road trip.  For 4 glorious days we will be in Winter Park with beautiful scenery and mild weather.  But before we get there we have to survive the 9 hour car trip. 

When I asked friends and family members how to survive such a dreadful experience they had one common solution: the IPad.  Unfortunately I don't have an IPad.  Unfortunate for me, that is.  I know myself and if I had anything worth 500ish$ my toddler's little grubbers wouldn't come anywhere near it. 

So I sat down to research and work out how to take a toddler on a trip without an IPad (Iphone, Ipod, anything with a touch screen).  And here is what I am going to try. 

I don't need statistics to tell me how short of an attention span my child has at 19 months.  But it is nice that the research backs up my anecdotal data. 

Ages 16 months - 19 months

Your child might be restless, but is able to sustain attention to one structured activity for 2-3 minutes.
This road trip without stops is 540 minutes.  That is roughly 216 intervals of attention paid to one thing.  This bit of math told me that this was serious.  This would require a multi-pronged plan. 

Before the trip, make sure you have rested.  You need to be able to outsmart the toddler at all times, if this sounds easy to you, you haven't had the pleasure to spend much time around a wily spry toddler. 

If you slip and accidentally show them a stray box of mac & cheese you've packed for later, you will no doubt have a request (think of this as a list of demands from a terrorist) that you cannot fulfill at a reststop. 

1. Variety is key-- I suppose with the prior math I blew my own mind with, this is a given.

2. Use things they didn't know existed...this means new or something you've hidden for a long time, this can be challenging because you cannot be sure that they will really be interested in it if they've never seen it.  Try to pattern the new things off of things they have.

3. Don't break the bank.  I read a blog post about this same topic where she linked all the toys she bought and it would have equalled my budget for the entire trip.  The key is finding things ahead of time, utilizing thrift and yard sales and the dollar store.  I am pretty sure Sloane will love the 1.00 stickers that I bought more than if I got her a new toy for her 2-3 minute attention span.  You can also check out books/videos at the library.  If they don't like them there is nothing lost (unless of course you lose the book). 

4.  Do not sacrifice your own sanity-- you need it: to drive and outsmart them at the same time.  Therefore limit toys that make annoying & loud sounds like the Dora guitar that your brother bought them for Christmas (thanks for nothing).   5.  Save something for the return trip.  Obviously the toys you use on the way there will not have the same sparkle on the way home.  So plan accordingly.  I have packed a lot of things with hidden compartments jam packed full of things for said toddler to root through (she has similar interests as a rodent).  
plenty of junk to lose in the rental car & in the mountains-- the lot of it was a garage sale steal for 1.00
  6. Plenty of snacks (duh). I tried to make the snacks entertaining as well by utilizing my good friend Pinterest. And found these...
She likes to shake out her "feesh"

and this for you more ambitious mommas and poppas (link for credit was broken)
 7.  This is where I would say "have fun you are creating precious memories"...but that doesn't sound like me at all.  So instead I leave you with this...don't forget your __________ (insert anti-anxiety med of choice) and your camera.      title courtesy of Dashboard Confessional: Road Rules Apply

1 comment:

Ashley H said...

Gaah that gives me a panic attack. We just took B to Michigan with us last weekend & that was only a 2 hour road trip. Not sure the statistics on his attention span but you can only roll down the windows on each side of the car so many times for a different view/smell. There's only so much change of scenery to offer! He didn't care at all for the three toys we brought! Grr