What can be more frustrating than a toddler who hates car rides? You have places to go and need to bring your toddler with you. You understandably do not have the patience to deal with a screaming child just because they don’t like the car. Well, don’t tear your hair out! Instead, try some of the following tips for dealing with car-averse toddlers.
Drive around less with your toddler.
If your toddler can’t stand car rides, a very simple solution is not to drive them. Driving causes lots of pollution through the burning of fossil fuels. Therefore, finding an alternative to the car might be your best course of action. There are many alternatives to commuting with your toddler. Try walking more or public transportation. You can even find a special carriage for toddlers for your bike they can sit in. Just make sure your child is old enough to ride in a bike, and they wear a helmet. You must consider these factors not only for safety purposes — in many jurisdictions, age-limits and helmets are required by law.
More and more cities worldwide are enhancing their cycling infrastructure, with sectioned-off bike lanes and new bike-share programs. With enough cyclists, a critical mass will be built to create a safer environment for alternative transportation methods. Therefore, give it a shot and take your toddler for a bike ride. Not only does it get them out of the car, but they will likely have more fun!
Drive while your toddler sleeps.
Understandably, certain locations or situations require putting your child in a car. In these situations, timing is key. Therefore, try to drive them while they are sleeping, so they don’t get bothered. Try scheduling their nap times daily, so they are used to sleeping at certain times. You can either strap them into the car right before their nap or after they have already fallen asleep.
Another good method to drive them while they sleep is during the nighttime. Schedule long road trips to begin at night so that the toddler can sleep the whole way through. Of course, it will require you, the driver, to make adjustments to your sleep schedule. However, if you plan accordingly, it will do the job of managing the toddler’s discomfort.
Bring toys and books.
Of course, there are times when finding the optimal timing is not possible. Maybe you have to take your little one to the doctor. Maybe you have an emergency. Whatever the reason, you can bring additional comfort to your toddler by bringing their favorite books and toys. Some fun toys could be plastic keys, stuffed animals, or play instruments. Simply just find whatever they love to play with and keep them busy.
Books are also terrific items to keep your little ones busy. They likely have a few favorites by now, so let them hold on to it during the ride. Even if you cannot sit by them and read, the pictures may be enough to keep them happy.
Play fun car music and sing along with your toddler.
One tried and true method for passing the time in the car is fun singalongs! Find a fun children’s playlist with some of your little one’s favorite tunes. Load it into your car and play it on repeat. Even if they cannot, you can sing along with the music to help your toddler focus on it.
There are many wonderful children’s artists out there. Some of the classics include Rafi, Sharon Louis and Braham, Tom Chapin, and David Jack. Other popular children’s musicians include Pete Seeger, Enzo Garcia, or Elizabeth Mitchell. Of course, you could also go with tried and true classics like Disney songs. If you cannot stand children’s music, some adult songs are kid-friendly as well.
Try playing them Bob Marley or the Beatles, for example. They will be sure to enjoy it.
Sit next to him/her.
There is a good chance the reason your toddler hates car rides is that they feel lonely. They are isolated in the back seat looking backward while you face the other direction driving. Therefore, a good solution is to sit next to them. Of course, if you are the only driver, then you physically must sit in the front seat. But perhaps you could have someone else do the driving for a change. In these situations, you have the freedom to sit next to your child to comfort them throughout the ride. Back there, you can read them books, play with their toys, or play games like peek-a-boo. Be creative! Remember, just being there oftentimes is all it takes to give your little one’s peace of mind.
Explore new car seats.
Of course, if all else fails, perhaps you need a new car seat. Not all car seats are made alike, so you have plenty of options to choose from. Some popular brands include Grato and Britex. You’ll want a seat large enough to provide optimum comfort. The number one reason for toddlers’ discomfort is a too-small car seat. Indeed, oftentimes parents wait too long to upgrade from their infant seat. Not only are larger seats more comfortable, but they also provide better protection. These are definitely worth-while investments for your child’s car-riding experience. Once you have a seat, if your child is large enough, consider installing it forward-facing. Forward-facing seats give your child a better connection to you and the car driver because you are front-facing too. Just make sure your toddler is large enough to accommodate the new orientation.
Parents know how aggravating it can be driving with a screaming toddler in the back because he hates car rides. However, with some planning and extra consideration, you can give your child a more pleasant ride. You could play music or bring them toys. You could sit with them to make them feel closer to you during the journey. You know to make sure their seat is optimal for their size. Best of all, maybe you will decide to simply leave the car at home for a trip or two. Whatever you ultimately decide to do, good luck and enjoy the ride!