I know it’s hardly the “holiday season” but if you’re like my family, you have loved ones spread out all over the country. We try our best to utilize holiday weekends and breaks to visit everyone and more than likely, this means we end up having to sit in traffic. We were particularly caught off guard during a drive to Pittsburgh a couple months ago. They had the only highway into the city completely shut down. We literally went 1 mile per hour in that traffic, waiting to get off at the exit and turn around. We were trapped, hungry, and since I only prepared for an hour drive, completely out of devices to entertain the baby with. Listen, I’m from Southern California OK? I know traffic… but this experience was particularly hellish. Imagine them completely shutting down the 405 in a single direction… It’d be MADNESS! Anyway, that night, my husband rolled over to me and said “You know what’d be a god post for your blog? How to keep babies happy in traffic.”
Yes husband, that is a good idea! If only I had ways of keeping babies happy in traffic. So I accepted the challenge and decided to put together entertainment ideas that can be kept in your car, for those moments when you hit unexpected traffic.
- Food – This one may be pretty obvious, in fact, some of you maybe already use food to entertain your kids for even the shortest of drives. I’m not usually one who likes to give snacks in the car because I’m a fear driven person; fear driven me has premonitions of choking babies that I can’t climb into the backseat fast enough to unbuckle and save them from choking and dying. So, if you’re also a fear driven mom, you may be thinking Why is traffic an acceptable exception for food in the car? Because if you’re going 1 mph, it’s going to be a lot easier to stop driving and help your kid. Also, if this is a food you’re going to be keeping in your car indefinitely, for “emergencies” only, its going to be something that breaks down easily in a baby’s mouth… like crackers. Better yet, those baby puffs [as expensive as they may be for puffed air,] melt in kids’ mouths making them almost impossible to choke on. I threw a tub of puffs into my center console for safe keeping.
- Toys – Again, seemingly obvious. But I’m not talking about their beloved favorites, I’m talking about McDonald happy meal toys. Toys that are small, and easily discarded when paired with the high tech, musical favorites your kids already have in their toy box. These are reject toys that they won’t miss being kept in the car for traffic emergencies. These toys are small, store easy, won’t be missed, but offer so much excitement when pulled out in boring, awful traffic.
- Books – I feel like this is a less obvious option, but so easy! Those pockets on the back of the driver and passenger seat? Slip a couple books into the back of each. You still have enough room to cram other things in the pocket if need be, but the books are always there as an option.
- Roll down the window – This is a personal favorite because it works from 1 year olds, all the way down to itty bitty babies. If you’re going over 10 mph, then you may even get a little white noise going, that will help you calm down your babe. If you’re stuck in 1 mph traffic like we were, chances are your kids will get a kick out of all the different cars you end up next to. My daughter has just started to associate waving with things leaving. So, every time we passed a vehicle, she waved them good bye. Adorable.
- The Last Resort – I’m guessing you, the parent, has a smart phone that they always carry with them. Trust me, I don’t like my babe playing with my phone in fear that she may begin to think there is some kind of joint ownership when the phone is actually mine; that she may mistake my generosity for custody of the phone. Well, when you’re stuck in traffic and have gone through the other 4 steps of trying to entertain your child, you won’t mind handing your phone over to a 1 year old. Fisher Price has some really great free apps you can put on your phone for kids. Check it out!
Do you have a way of entertaining your kids that I left out? Throw it down in the comments!