Guest Blogger: Unplugged Travel with Toddlers - Road Trip Edition

Summer is here and for many families that means road trip season!

While watching movies or playing tablet games can be fine for some, many strived to focus on unplugged travel with their little ones. By working with your child’s natural cycles, you can turn a device-free road trip into engaging, quality, family time and provide a childhood full of treasured memories instead of just another viewing of Frozen.

Don’t rush. 

As adults, we usually plan a long-haul drive trying to get to our destination as soon as possible, but we have to change this mindset when traveling with kids.  Planning is key when it comes to road trips with toddlers. Kids have three main cycles; eat, sleep and play. The length of these cycles varies by age, but for infants and toddlers, the time in between can be quite short. Plan to stop approximately every two hours to stretch everyone’s legs, enjoy a snack and a bathroom break, especially important for toddlers in potty-training! Frequent breaks and taking your time will ease the stress of your child having their normal routine disrupted and help them enjoy the experience more. Try to end your day at 4 pm so that your child can eat dinner at their normal time and maintain their bedtime schedule. You can’t expect them to fall asleep right after checking into a hotel! 

Pack accordingly.

Depending on the length of your road trip, it’s important to prepare for the unexpected. For short trips (under 3 hours), snacks, water, wipes and extra clothing/diapers are a must. For longer trips, several changes of clothing may be necessary along with extra wipes. Don’t forget a leak-proof storage bag for dirty clothing! Motion sickness can be unpredictable, so a few sick bags may also be in order. A thermos of warm milk is a surefire way to get toddlers to fall asleep once the car gets moving! Get a full packing checklist here! 

Anticipate their needs.

Place a bag or other container that your toddler can reach next to their car seat and fill it with all the things they may want or need. Healthy, car-friendly snacks like sliced fruit or cheese (think non-crumbly) and water to keep them hydrated are important. Favorite sleeping comforts such as blankets or soft toys along with the white noise of the car is enough to put most toddlers to sleep. Coloring books or picture books with few words are a good choice for the car as reading will often lead to motion sickness. Audio books are something the entire family can enjoy. Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Frog and Toad are Friends, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz are toddler-approved (over 4 years old) and enjoyable for all!

Make the most of play time. 

While many parents aim to drive when their kids are sleeping, playtime in the car helps kids stick with their regular daytime schedule much better. Here are some activities you can do with your kids while still keeping your eyes on the road.  

What would a road trip be without sing-alongs and car games? When your toddler is at their most active, it’s a great time to engage with them and build those road-trip memories! Make a couple of playlists in advance, especially if your child enjoys calming music before bed or naptime. Fill another with road trip classics and your toddler’s favorite dance music for a robust sing-along and in-your-seat dance party! It’s a great time to teach your kids the songs you sang at camp or in the car as kids and relive a little of your own childhood too. 

Age-appropriate road trip games can be fun for kids of all ages. Simple scavenger hunts such as car colors for young kids and state license plates for older ones or a game of I Spy are good diversions. The Alphabet Game is great for toddlers, either spotting items outside the car that begin with each letter or through a scenario such as “I’m going on a picnic, I bring…” something beginning with A and so on. Twenty Questions is another classic your toddler will enjoy!

There are a lot of benefits of unplugged travel with toddlers, including building memories. Skip the DVDs and tablet time and help your kids be present. Also, work with their schedule to make naptime work for you. What are your best tips for road trips with toddlers? Let us know in the comments below!

-Compiled by Miniware


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You, Your Kids and Halloween – Its it the same in recent years?

Sugar rush season is upon us and somehow, some way we always tend to divulge into the treats and the activities of Halloween.

Parents who partake in the festivities often find themselves trying to figure out a last minute costume and grabbing a bag of “they get what they get” candy in hopes that Halloween night goes off without a hitch. With the rising costs of candy, the treats giveaways are measlier in comparison to recent years. Over the past few years, parents have been saying that there has been a decline in trick or treaters due to past weather conditions, safety concerns or just lack of time in this day and age. Parents of toddlers find themselves enrolling their kids into safety trick or treat programs at libraries, trick or treating at the mall or at business establishments a opposed to people’s homes.

Some parents I have spoken to have said that this year, they will not be participating in overseeing their little ones participate in trick or treating and will instead – go out for dinner, have a Halloween themed home cooked dinner or just leave the house so they do not have to hear their door bell ring sporadically. Other parents said they have given their older children responsibility over the younger ones to go on out to a couple of doors and get as many treats as they can before dark.

Halloween as we know it has changed over the years with more concern over safety. What are your Halloween plans for you children this year?



What Are Your (Latchkey) Kids Are Doing After School? (submission)

Every year, millions of children head home after school to an empty house because school clubs/sport programs have been cut, after-school supervision is expensive, or the children are at an age where parents feel they are capable of being home alone for a few hours. If you have a “Latchkey” kid, you’re certainly not alone.

After-school care is a multi-billion-dollar industry, however more than a quarter of America’s school children (15.1 million) are on their own after the school day ends. Despite growing awareness that children are at particular risk during these afternoon hours, the number and percentage of children left on their own in the afternoons has actually increased in the last five years.

If after-school care is not an option for your family, or you feel your child is old enough and responsible enough to be home alone, rather than allowing your child to set his or her own after-school schedule you should take advantage of the opportunity to create a teachable moment.

Parents can easily build their own after-school programs for their children by following the guidelines below. Besides children benefiting from the “teachable moments”, the experience will also start them down the path of developing into a responsible young adult. Here are some suggestions on how to start your program:

1. Set Expectations with Goals, Rewards & Penalties … No matter the age of your children or what you are trying to teach them, it’s important to set real goals, rewards for a job well done, and penalties if something goes wrong. By having clear goals, rewards and penalties, children of all ages can understand the benefits of following directions and weigh the consequences of any bad decisions.

2. Determine the “Trust Factor” … On a scale of 1-5, how much do you trust your child to be home unattended? If the number is 1, you will need to keep your child busy, and possibly, set some high penalties if something goes wrong. If the number is 5, give your child enough tasks to remain productive or possibly in charge of others.  

3. Communication Is Key … Make sure your children understand that there is no such thing as over-communication throughout any time home alone and that you actually demand regular updates. Set times to get short updates and then have full “downloads” when you get home. Use dinner or breakfast as the time to catch up or discuss what’s coming up.

4. Fill Time By Doing Projects … Set a schedule for your children so that each day there are different chores to do and that the chores fit the proper ages. Make sure the chores fill enough time and can be finished by the time you get home. Also, build in some short breaks so your children have time to unwind from a tough day at school. Again, depending on the age and “trust factor”, the amount of time that needs to be filled can vary.

5.  Follow Through … No matter whether your children do a great job or a poor one, you need to follow through with the rewards and penalties. Kids are smart enough to know whether parents will stand by their word or not and whether there is any bite behind that bark. While this is about keeping your kids safe and active, it’s also about teaching them work ethic, responsibility and accountability. So, praise and reward them for a job well done and remain strongly committed to the penalty you set for failing to meet expectations. 

- Gregg Murset, CEO and Co-Founder of BusyKid.

BusyKid uses modern technology to help children develop into adults with a strong work ethic and sense of what it means to be responsible and financially smart. Get the app today.

aMommyCast thanks Mr. Murset for being a guest blogger. If you would like to be a guest contributor please email your pitches to


Quick Tips to Get Pregnant Sooner (submission)

1.    Get in sync with your cycle – Know when you ovulate. This may seem like a no-brainer but it can take most of the guesswork out of conceiving. Generally, ovulation occurs 14 days prior to the next period. Ovulation predictor kits (like the First Response Simple Ovulation Test Kit) can be used to help monitor hormonal changes in the body and find your “fertile window”. Based on your ovulation cycle, the fertile window is typically the four- to five-day window ending on the day of ovulation. Try to have lots of baby-making sex during this timeframe.

2.    Use a fertility-friendly lubricant. Use Pre-Seed to make sex more comfortable and fun! Clinical studies show that Pre-Seed is safe for use when trying to conceive, so you can be confident you are using the right lubricant to optimize your natural fertility.

3.    Get into the right position after sex – Contrary to some rumors, there is no “perfect” position that is proven to help you conceive. However, the position you take after sex can make a difference. Stay horizontal for at least 10 minutes after you do the deed. Don’t get up and go to the bathroom or get dressed. Just rest and let the sperm get to where it’s going. A perfect excuse to scroll Instagram.

4.     Start taking prenatal vitamins!  Women should begin taking prenatal vitamins before trying to conceive, throughout their pregnancy journey, and even in postpartum. When preparing for pregnancy, the most important first step is to start a prenatal vitamin with 1000 mcg of folate such as OB Complete three months prior to conceiving.

5.     Stop using birth control before you start trying – “No kidding”, you say. While it seems intuitive, not all birth control methods are created equal. Some will stay in your system for weeks or even months, especially Depo Provera. Check with your OB/GYN to find out the details on any of the potentially lasting effects from your method of birth control.

6.    Schedule an appointment with your doctor – Since you know you’re ready to conceive, this is one of the most important things you can do. Your doctor can give you the advice you need on nutrition, lifestyle and overall health.

7.     Be patient! It can take up to one year for a couple to conceive.  If you are 34 years old or younger, I recommend trying for one year before seeing a specialist for infertility.  However, if you have irregular menses, you should seek care from a fertility specialist immediately. If you are 35 years old or older, I recommend trying for six months before seeing a specialist such as a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

- Gloria Richard-Davis, MD:
University of Arkansas Medical Sciences (UAMS) Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology author of
Planning Parenthood