Today's Mama Monday is about travelling with kids. Even though Jackson is still young, we've already made some big trips and learned a lot about how he is in the car. The first 3 months or so, we thought he would be the best car baby in the world...he would sleep, wake up and eat, look around for a little while, then sleep some more (even for 6 or so hrs!). Then things started to change. The older and more aware he got, the less he would sleep in the car. Once he started to crawl, it was all over. He hated being in the car seat!!! So, here's a few things that we've learned.
1) When to leave- I know some people say leave when it's naptime, but Jackson just doesn't sleep well in the car anymore. So we leave right after he's eaten his breakfast (or other meal). This way he gets at least 30-45 min or awake (and happy) time before he takes his nap. His cartime naps are much shorter than his usual nap at the house. This is probably due to the fact that he usually wakes up 45 min to an hour into his nap, flips around for a few minutes, then goes back to sleep...something you can't do in the car. After this short nap, he's usually able to amuse himself with his toys or babbling to us for about 30 min. This has taken us 2 hrs into a trip. At this point, we usually have to stop, get him out, stretch, change, make a bottle. We know people who do most of their travelling at night. We haven't had to try this yet, but if we had a 12 or more hr ride, we would definitely try it.
2) Entertainment in the car - Jackson has several toys that he does well with in the car; toy keys, a toy phone (noisemakers, yes, but they make him happy, which makes us happy). There's also little things that I wouldn't thing would be fun, but he just loves - empty water bottles (make noise and can be chewed on), plastic Easter eggs (yep, still playing with them months after Easter), burp clothes or bibs (fun to chew on). An important thing for us is trying to find toys that we can attach with clips to his carseat beacuse he likes to throw them off onto the seat at some point. Some toys have straps attached to them and some you can add them to, but I higly recommend them if you've got a little one who drops/throws things. I have to agree with Erin, I didn't think we would want Jackson watching dvds in the car, but we've decided if he'll watch it, we're good with it :) We tried this the last leg of our beach trip to Cape San Blas, but he was so ready to get out of the car, he wasn't going for it. I loved the idea someone had of buying little gifts at the store and having them for the child to "open" along the trip, keeping them guessing and entertained.
3) Food - Now that Jackson's eating well with finger food, I'm all for giving him things in the car. Eating one bit at a time, keeps the clock ticking, and us still riding. We try to stop as littel as possible because once we get out and moving, Jackson doesn't want to get back in his carseat, and he cries for a couple of minutes until we get back on the road. Once he gets older and we take long car rides, I imagine we may have a special food treat for later in the car ride.
For the most part, Jackson has been great in the car. I can't wait until he gains a couple more pounds and is three months older so he can sit forward. This will have more advantages than disadvantages I think. Right now we struggle with him facing backwards b/c I get carsick, so I can't get back there with him. So he can't see us well, and he whips his head side to side trying ot see us when we're talking. We'll see what happens when we take a plane ride somewhere!
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