10 Tips for a Smooth Commute

commuting with a toddler tipsUp until 10 months ago, I was the Queen of the Commute. Harrison and I were strapped into the car by 7 AM every weekday morning and drove for over an hour to drop him off at the nanny’s before I headed to work. Then at 5 PM, we’d start the drive back, finally pulling into our driveway around 6:15 PM. Bumper-to-bumper, stop-and-go traffic for over two years, from the time Harrison was 12-weeks-old until he was 2 1/2-years-old.

It. Was. Brutal.

So brutal that we put our house on the market, took a $10,000 hit to our pockets for it, said goodbye to our first home, and moved into the city. Now we live just fifteen minutes from our respective jobs and Harrison’s daycare.

On the other hand, I learned a lot about commuting with a toddler, which is far different from the 15 minute ride to the grocery store or the 10 hour ride to Grandma’s.  Here are my best commuting tips for my fellow working mommas:

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  • Have something to drink 1 of 10
    Have something to drink
    I keep a sippy cup with water in the car, but in the mornings, I'll grab a milk for him to enjoy on the way to work. I had a coworker who had a fresh milk that she kept in the break room fridge for her kid to drink when she picked him up. However you want to do it is great - just remember to remove the dirty cup before it smells!
  • Let him be comfy. 2 of 10
    Let him be comfy.
    He wants to take off his socks and shoes? Sure. I'll put them back on when we get to daycare. He doesn't want to wear his sweatshirt? That's fine. The car is warm anyways. An uncomfy kid is a screaming kid - remember that.
  • Talk to him! 3 of 10
    Talk to him!
    This one really only works when he's older and speaking. Right now, Harry is totally into dump trucks, so we count how many we see on the way to school. Or I ask him how his day went and what he ate for lunch.
  • Make a toddler tunes playlist 4 of 10
    Make a toddler tunes playlist
    Download songs from her favorite animated movie, plus some oldies. We're also fans of Jewel's CD.
  • Get a DVD player 5 of 10
    Get a DVD player
    This is a pretty unpopular opinion and for some, a safety concern. So it is 100% up to you. For us, having Harry in the car 2-3 hours per day meant having a DVD player to keep him occupied in the winter months when it was dark during our commute. Otherwise, he was sitting backwards in the dark alone for an hour. I'd hate that.
  • Get a sunshade and sunglasses 6 of 10
    Get a sunshade and sunglasses
    Depending on the season and time of day, the sun can be harsh on your tot's eyes. Meltdowns have occured when the shade isn't pulled, so be sure it is down and covering the majority of the window. Also keep several pairs of sunglasses in the car - one for him to wear and one up front for when he drops the pair he's wearing.
  • Put on songs that you like and sing 7 of 10
    Put on songs that you like and sing
    Harry LOVES it when I sing, so I make sure I have a playlist full of "clean" music that is upbeat and that will get me singing and both of us dancing in our seats.
  • Keep a blanket in the car for him 8 of 10
    Keep a blanket in the car for him
    He'll fall asleep. In the winter, he might get cold. Or he might just want something to hold onto. Keep a fuzzy blanket in the car for these random events.
  • Get car-appropriate toys 9 of 10
    Get car-appropriate toys
    Like a Magnedoodle. Or keeping a little purse full of Matchbox cars or My Little Ponies. Whatever keeps them ocupied that doesn't require accessories.
  • Keep snacks in the car 10 of 10
    Keep snacks in the car
    My favorites are goldfish crackers in a spill-proof snack cup and squeezable fruit/veggie packs. It will give him something to do and keep the hunger-screams at bay.

Any tips you would like to share?

More from BA:

Toddler Biting 101

Common mom ruts & what you can do to snap out of them.

When potty training is a FAIL WHALE.

I’m okay with “toddlers being “princesses.”

Trouble making or keeping mom friends? Here’s my secret.

Beth Anne writes words & takes pictures at Okay, BA! You can also find her on theTwitters & Facebook.

 

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