Here is what we did to prepare!
1. Talk about the LONG ride. For the past month I have been showing Ivy pictures of the beach and talking about how much fun it will be, but also reminding her that it takes a long time in the car. I think we forget how much we can truly prepare a 2 year old. They are fully capable of understanding what is going on and the more examples you can give... the better!
2. Get some new movies! We bought three new movies for the car, that she had seen once (she LOVES blockbuster movie nights). She was so excited to have Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, and The Jungle Book to add to her car trip viewing.
3. Buy some car toys to keep her entertained. I went to scour Rite Aid, Walgreens, Wal-mart, and the Parent-Teacher toys to buy some perfect for the car trinkets. I motivated Ivy each time I introduced something new I told her we had to be a good car rider so that she could get the next present. I spaced them out so well that I even had three new goodies to introduce on the way home.
4. Be prepared to STOP. We were not on a time schedule. In our minds we allowed for 2 extra hours for stopping and playing. We picked our places with a plan in mind. We stopped at rest areas or gas stations with an area for Ivy to run and roam. We spent 30 minutes at a small town gas station in TN because Ivy was quite entertained with the large rock pile that she ran up and down, up and down to wear her little heart out! We also were lucky enough to find a Chick-Fil-A with a play place to stop and eat lunch. That was such a blessing!
5. Cheer on yourself as a parent! I was really freaking out about my job as an entertainer. But the whole time I kept saying "Wow... Ivy you are doing awesome!" and then in my head I would say "And Mama, you are being so patient and entertaining you deserve a pat on the back.... on an ice cream sundae!!" I tried to keep in mind that I needed encouragement in this long car ride too!! :)
6. Healthy Snacks :) I know that lots of kids are distracted by eating, but I really didn't want to load Ivy (or me) up on sugar, so we packed a cooler with grapes, carrots, drinks, cheese cubes, etc. This kept us snacking but not on a bunch of junk food!
YAY! For a good car trip.... pictures of our excellent vacation will be coming soon!