a road trip with a boy who hates the car

We’ve got some pretty big goals for the upcoming year.  Over Christmas we’re each dreaming big and writing down what we would like to see happen on our little slice of the world wide web.  The only thing I can guarantee is Jeanne’s notes will be much more organized in a much cooler notebook.

In the meantime, I’m still on vacation.  Friday night we headed down to south so my little guys could spend some good ole family time with their 2 cousins.  We are here, and honestly, it’s always hard to leave.  The cousins only see each other twice a year, and all us parents agree that this has got to change!

But, in order to get here, we had to drive.  We barely take road trips as a family.  In fact, the only time we do road trips is this 4 hour trip down south every year at Christmas.  Put me on a plane cross country with my kids… no sweat. But a 4 hour road trip… terrifying.

For starters, my kids hate the car for any extended amount of time.  Well, actually Elijah is 3 1/2 now, and enjoys the car.  But once when he was 18 months he screamed the entire 4 hours of the trip.  That was fun.  So now David is 15 months and he is the prime age for hating the car.

We’ve tried traveling at night at the kids bedtime, and even though it isn’t perfect… it seems the easiest.  And by easiest, I don’t mean easy at all.  Just easier than day-time travel.

But then there’s people like Jeanne whose kids clearly like driving in the car.  She can drive cross country alone with her 2 littles with a smile on her face.  She might have had a few hiccups, but obviously it wasn’t too bad since they loaded up the car a few weeks after they got home and headed cross country again.

So we left at 8 PM.  David had only napped once that day so I foolishly thought he would just clonk out and we’d wake him up when we got there.  Ohh, and we’ve done this trip a ton of times, but somehow I got turned around and got lost and we wen’t about an hour out of the way.  Woo hoo!

So about an hour and a half into our trip both kids fell asleep.


Bliss!  John and I could actually have a conversation.  I drank some kombucha and caught a few minutes of sleep.

Then a short 60 minutes later the littlest guy woke up and it was downhill from there.  We stopped for just a sec thinking I could just nurse him for a few minutes and he’s be right back to sleep… after all, it was 11PM!  But he wasn’t interested in what I had to offer, and preferred to just take his turn in the drivers seat.

He was wide awake.  I knew when I put him in his seat he’d be angry, but we weren’t about to sit at the gas station for an hour.  Ohh, and since I knew my kids we going to sleep the whole time, the only snacks I packed were a couple of apples.

And the David proceeded to cry and scream and whimper and then cry again for the next 2 hours till we arrived.  No amount of Old McDonald was going to calm that boy.  And as far as I’m concerned… there’s no such thing as reasoning with a 15 month old in the middle of the night.


After we spend a few days here… we get to load back up and head back to Dallas!  So please… anyone… someone… help a sister out.  What are we doing wrong?! I’ll gladly take any advice!


6 thoughts on “a road trip with a boy who hates the car

  1. Connor loved his portable DVD player. He could pick Clifford the Big Red Dog or Bob the Builder and put it in the DVD player and watch and sing and put on his own head phones. I never drove cross country but the DVD was a life saver on the flights across country. Jeanne actually told me which one to buy that would hold up well since she had the same one. She said she used it to watch her dallies in some pretty remote, windy, cold and wet places. The DVD player still lives after 5 years. Try it he may like it!

    1. I actually still have that DVD player (it’s made by Sony and has certainly seen some seriously rough terrain … can you say windstorm in the mountain deserts of New Mexico at midnight? … and it STILL works!) …and yes … I have resorted to using it in the car on long trips.

    2. Hey Theresa… I somehow managed to just now see these comments… I’ve had more than one person tell me that I need to a car DVD player. My littlest isn’t interested in TV at all, but maybe in the car he would give it a try. So… next year when we make our annual 4 hour road trip I’ll have to give it a try 🙂

  2. At night, try a cool headset that covers his ears with his favorite bedtime books or nursery rhymes or even lullabies. Maybe by a special car neck pillow or pillowpet that he only uses in the car for comforting him down. During the day- play games with them like “I Spy” to keep them busy and not get anxious or motion sick.

    1. Thanks Linda! I love the I Spy idea… I actually played that with my 3 year old on the drive home and that worked great. Turns out the drive home went way better than the way there. We drove during the day during David’s nap time and he slept a whopping 20 minutes. However, he actually didn’t cry the whole rest of the way.. Progress!

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