My son squirms nonstop. And, like most toddlers, he hates when his parents wash his face, brush his teeth or trim his nails - basically any task that involves grooming.
A long car trip with kids can be taxing, but when a baby is on board, the freedom of the open road can quickly take a wrong turn. But don't unpack the stroller just yet - with preparation, baby's first road trip can be the beginning of a lifelong love of travel. Leslie Marin and husband Kris recently moved their family to Hilliard from Kirksville, Mo., which meant making the nine-hour drive multiple times with kids Isaac, 5, Kaylie, 3 and baby Jessica, 11 months, in tow. "Older kids are easier to entertain and understand why they have to stay in the car," said Marin. "But a baby on a trip is hard because they want to be held or explore." Having survived a few trips through the trenches, Marin offers her best tips for scream-free travel. Leave right before naptime. This worked for Marin as Jessica slept for the first stretch and then was awake when everyone else was ready to stretch their legs. Stop often, even if it means a longer trip. Marin took every opportunity to stop and let Jessica and the older kids crawl and run around. Even babies who aren't mobile will enjoy a change of scenery, she said. Give baby a seat buddy. Marin's older children provided plenty of entertainment just by sitting close to Jessica. Snacks are a powerful tool said Marin. If baby is eating solids, make sure snacks are small enough to be safe and that someone is watching her. Prepare a go-to bag. Marin had a bag of toys, treats, a change of clothes, wipes and diapers that was easily accessible. Reintroduce favorite toys. About a week before the trip, Marin set aside a few of Jessica's favorite toys so that they would seem new on the trip. Introduce only one toy at a time to maximize playtime. Chewing on baby books and shaking rattles were some of Jessica's favorite things, said Marin. Attach a seat mirror to give baby something else to look at. This was something Marin didn't do that she wished she had. Be patient! "Jessica did cry and fuss a few times but I tried to remember that at some point the trip would end," Marin said. Minus a few bumps in the road, Marin and her family survived the trips and even have some good memories to show for them. "I definitely worried more than I should have," she said. "I think the next one will be even better!"