Our first grand stop on our epic road trip across the country with two toddlers in tow, all our stuff to live off of for the next 3 months and a small car…. Monticello.
We learned the correct pronunciation is Monte ‘ch’ ello, old Italian. Thomas Jefferson was an architectural genius for his day. Here is our happy attempt to expose our kids to art, culture and history. Sometimes I think we need remind ourselves they are only 2 and 3.
Here is what I learned in the start of our road trip.
- Boredom is good
- With so many electronics and distractions to go with them, kids don’t seem to get much of this these days. I found that if we try to avoid pulling out any kind of electronics, the kids have to actually use their “imagination” and come up with their own entertainment. They quite literally are forced to learn how to completely entertain themselves. And what might start out with a little whining somehow transitions into them making up their own songs and playing pretend with their little toys, and getting excited about things they see out the window, like the clouds or a big truck going by. And when you hear them laughing at each other in the back seat for the silly faces they are making at each other, that is a happy sound indeed. True road trip bonding.
- Mix it up!
- While I did not want to provide my children with something to do every moment of the trip, I can’t expect little toddlers to completely entertain themselves for a long road trip, especially when they can barely see out the window anyway. So with many a fun activities ready to go such as these Little People Flipbook The kids love these! They will spend anywhere from 15-30 minutes flipping through them and imitating the voices of the different pictures. While Madeline is not picture reading yet, she will “picture” read to Milo. Aside from books, I will hand back one little toy at a time for them to play with and when they seem to get restless and are done with it we switch or move onto another little toy. Madeline loves these Disney Princess Little Kingdom Magiclip 7-Doll Giftset. She likes mixing and matching the different little outfits. Between toys, games and books, we pulled out little snacks here and there.
- Resist the Electronics for as LONG as possible!
- We quickly learned that the second we pulled out an iPad or iphone that they were quickly eager to use them and NOTHING but them! So my advice, wait to pull them out as long as possible. We did not have a Charger Adapter and Chargeport for the ipad at the time, so when the battery was gone, it was gone for the rest of the ride, so we prioritized only pulling out the screens once it got dark! It is hard for the little’s to entertain themselves when they can’t see anything! So then we put on a movie for them.
- Greet groans with positive vibes
- We hadn’t even left the city yet when Madeline says to Matt, “Are we in California yet??” So cute and really quite funny in that moment. We forgot how much our sweet little toddler has to learn about the geography of the U.S. so we just laughed. My mom got her this fun puzzle to learn her states and see the different places we have visited and lived. Anyway, we just laughed and explained how far we were and reminded her of all the fun places we were going along the way.
- Download a selection of movies
- We use Amazon Prime for our movies, but we only got around to downloading 4 movies pretty much the night before traveling and… I ultimately would have loved a little more variety for mostly my own sanity. We did cover about 50 hours of driving time.
- Invest in a lap desk for the kids
- Encourage a little independence for the kids! I would have loved to have invest in something like this Lap Desk for the kids so I was not twisting awkwardly back to help pick up whatever they dropped or what they want again and again. Don’t get me wrong, stuff will still find its way to the floor but I know that the kids would have loved their own little “stations” to help themselves to snacks or whatever they are wanting. Also, when it comes to reading books and coloring, they really needed something to lean their stuff up on so it didn’t slide off their laps as easily.
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