Provide a playmate. "I would hang in the back to play with my babies and read books to them during road trips as my husband drove," says Beth Blair, a mom of two in Eagan, Minnesota and a contributor to the travel website The Vacation Gals. "This was especially helpful when their car seats were facing backward, which can get boring."
Decorate the car. Since she can’t see you as you drive, your baby will love seeing photos of you and her other favorite people taped to the back of the driver’s seat. Or work with a theme like animals, colors, or shapes.
Sing to her. Kiddie music is great and all, but babies most enjoy hearing their mom’s voice (and it’ll be a few years before she can tell you’re out of tune).
Talk to your baby, too. "Babies are listening to what parents say way before ‘mama’ or ‘dada’ are spoken," says Elaine Fogel Schneider, Ph.D., a psychologist and parenting coach in Palmdale, California. "While driving in a car, parents can encourage listening and language skills while keeping their baby entertained. Talk in a sing-song voice—go ‘up and down’ with your voice and make sound variations that capture your child’s attention."
Bring a bag of tricks. "I would keep a bag of things that made different sounds on the passenger seat, like a squeaky toy, and hand them to my baby when I stopped at a red light," says Thea Marx, a mom of one in Cody, Wyoming. "Sometimes the sounds drove me crazy, but it worked at keeping her entertained!"
Take breaks. "Scheduling stops helped a lot when we did road trips," says Luann Udell, a mom of two in Keene, New Hampshire. "If we didn’t stop, the baby would sleep all day—and when we got where we were going, she wouldn’t be ready for bed. Frequent stops helped wear out the little ones so that nighttime felt more normal."