Thursday, April 24, 2014

How We (Barely) Survived 8 Hours of Road Trip With Our Kids

We received a very last minute invitation to a hotel stay in Port Dickson. I usually plan my trips weeks or months beforehand as I like to get organized.
But this time I decided to say YES as hopefully it would be a relaxing trip and it would also be our first road trip. (what was I thinking?)

Our trip from our house in Penang to our hotel in Port Dickson supposedly would take about 5 1/2 to 6 hours, that is without stops in between.
I knew that would be impossible because we needed toilet breaks and also some stretches for our kids and even us adult.

Shern who is nearly 5 yo and I knew I wouldn't have problems with him. He is after all a very good traveller, be it in the car or plane.
I was on the other hand more anxious about Khye who is only 1 1/2 yo.

Usually Khye sits well in his car seat, but never this long. And also because we drive a Toyota Vios, once both their car seats are installed in the backseat, no more place for me to sit. So I needed to sit in front, which means I couldn't sit with Khye behind.

So you can imagine me cracking my head on how to entertain my 1 1/2 yo on a long car ride. I packed toys and books and everything that I could think of for a better road trip for Khye and us. lol.

Anyway, for this post, I would like to just share with you all which things worked, and which things didn't work for us! Whether is was Yay or Nay for us!

#1. Have Breakfast Before We Start Our Journey - YAY!

This one's good. We stopped for some dim sum breakfast at Gurney Drive before we started our journey. All four of us tucked in well and was fueled up and ready for our trip.

#2. Books To Read - YAY! 

I took Khye's favourite interactive books, such as Rod Campbell's Dear Zoo, and also a new interactive cloth book where Khye spent some time playing with them. 

This one's a big hit for Shern. I brought some of his favourite books and he had a nice time browsing through the pages of his Train book. He even took out his Boogie Board and paper and pen to draw some of the trains pictures from the book. 

#3. Pack Lots of Favourite Snacks - YAY!

For Khye, I packed cereals and some fruits for him and he was happy munching away while looking out the window.
For Shern, it was easy. I packed his favourite Nutella sandwich, and some organic Lollipops that he usually don't get to eat often, so he was pleased when he got to suck on lollipops.

#4. Toy Trains with Cake Tins/Pans - YAY!

This one's a BIG hit!
Both kids were excited when I took out  some trains and cars and also some cake tins and pans as a base for them to roll them on.
I gave Shern a cookie sheet as it was bigger.
As for Khye, I gave him a square cake pan which has higher sides, so that his trains/cars don't roll off easily.
Both kids were mesmerized with these for more than half an hour. 

#5: Bring A Pillow For Each - YAY!

I was glad I took an extra pillow so that each of them could have one pillow to hug on. 
When in the car, if one gets something, the other one wants it too. 
Usually Khye doesn't take a pacifier. But when I offered it to him, he took it and plopped it into his mouth as he often see his bro doing so. lol.

#6. Have a Break/Rest Every 2-3 Hours - YAY!

When we saw the kids getting restless, we stopped for a toilet break and also for the kids to stretch their legs. Although the sun was scorching hot above our heads, we still let them had a run in one of the playgrounds in the rest stops along the highway.

We also stopped at the Sungai Buluh Rest Stop and had Kajang Satay. All four of us are satay lovers!

#7. Sunglasses As A Means of Distraction - NAY!

I read that some toddlers love sunglasses. But Khye didn't really took to it very well. He took it for awhile and played some peekaboo with his brother. But barely 5 mins later, he was whining away.
Look at his tear-stained face.

#8. Activity Books for Older Kids - YAY!

Shern had always loved doing these activity books. In it, they have puzzles and 'spot the difference' and word game and such. He spent quite some time doing that.
Don't give him a colouring book as Shern hates colouring. haha.

#9. Bring a Boogie Board or just Pens and Papers for Doodling - YAY!

This worked well for both the older kid or even for my toddler.
I forgot to take pics of them using their Boogie Board.

Shern loved drawing and writing or just plain doodling. He would draw and make up stories (usually it involves trains!) and would be immersed in his own world.
Khye just liked doodling on it too. He would just doodle away and have fun.

I like that Boogie Board is much cleaner than pencils or pens, and also I don't have to bring so many pcs or papers. Kids just like to waste paper you know (at least mine do!). They would just draw a small thing on a piece of paper, and then they would ask you for another piece.
But with Boogie Board, all they needed to do is to just press the erase spot and it goes clean again. Just like a Magna Doodle, but more slim and ultra portable!

#10. Ipad - YAY!

I always delay offering the iPad to Shern. Because there are so many other ways to entertain them. So I always let them choose other options first before bringing out the iPad. 
But I also see no harm in giving them the iPad if we really need to. iPad is after all the super duper nanny!

I'm also proud to say that the iPad stays in the bag the whole journey on the way there. Shern was kept entertained with so many other stuff I mentioned.
But on the way home, I took it out and offered it to him so that he could have some fun playing his favourite Angry Bird racing game.

#11. Letting My Toddler Cry Himself To Sleep - NAY!

To tell the truth, Khye had a meltdown on the way there.
Look at him crying away, while his bro smiling away for my camera. lol.

I tried letting him cry himself to sleep (because it was way past his nap time) but he just couldn't, and to our horror, he turned into a monster and had a terrible meltdown.
We had no choice but to let him cry until we reached the next rest stop on the highway before I carried him down to console him.
And once we got out of the car, he was calmer and when I offered him my boobs, he fell asleep almost immediately. Ahh, the power of boobs! lol.


OK, so that was how we (barely) survived the 8 hours of road trip with a 4 1/2 year old and a 1 1/2 year old toddler.

So will there be another road trip for us? 
Well, not such a long one. Max I would say would be a 4 hour trip. Anything more than that we will choose to fly in the future, or at least until Khye's a little older! Or until we change into a bigger car (*winks) where I could at least sit at the back with the kids.
But nonetheless, it was a great experience for our family.

Here are some family selfies I tried taking (but I kept missing someone out of the pic).
I think I must admit I'm terrible at taking selfies. 

I hope by me writing down what worked for us, and what not, it will help others out there who are preparing for a long road trip with kids!

Bon Voyage!


Serenely said...

8 hours!!! Wow... even the longest plane ride we've been on is not this long... although the difference is that you can stop and run around at each rest stop. That boogie board has been really well used, I've seen you take it along on all your trips and holidays. Am now considering to check it out as it really seems to occupy Shern so well, and Nathan is just about the same age as him.

tanshuyin said...

Hie Serene,

Yes, Shern loves his Boogie Board. And like what you noticed, we do bring it everywhere, (because it is very light and portable!) especially for trips and even for long dinners/wedding dinners. I always try to use other things before we fish out the iPad as a last resort.

But it is not very cheap in Msia. I hope it is cheaper in Aus!