At some unfortunate stage, most parents may have to endure transporting a small child over long distances in a confined space. This is not a task for the faint-hearted and no amount of pre-planning can prepare you for every eventually that a two year old bundle of energy and attitude can throw at you, but here are a few pointers to take the sting out of travelling with a toddler.
1. Prepare to spend the entire journey focused on entertaining aforementioned toddler. Break your journey into 15-minute slots with a new activity or distraction for each slot. Magazines, stories, drawing and toys will keep them entertained for short bursts of time.
2. Delay introducing these diversions until the niggling starts or you might find yourself running out of ammo.
3. Avoid sugary snacks at all costs, stick to low energy snacks such as raisins, which are healthy and difficult to eat.
4. A portable DVD player is a fantastic investment if your child has a favourite movie that holds their attention. This will give you a much-needed break for part of the journey too.
5. Bribery is the number one tool for controlling children. Reward them for every half an hour of good behaviour with a small toy or treat. Stick to toys that cannot cause too much damage if flung with great force and that can be played with on the child’s lap or fold down table.
6. Download some kiddies’ games onto your phone that they can play with.
7. Take a pillow along. Small children will be able to see more out of the window if they are perched on pillow and with a great deal of luck they might even catch the hint and take a nap.
8. Bring spare clothes, for the child and yourself. Travel sickness is a common childhood ailment.
9. Do not forget the wet wipes.
10. If you are travelling by plane, make friends with your neighbours, their good humour will come in handy when your charming child turns into Chucky the nightmare doll.
And above all, remember that ‘this too shall pass’.