It’s the end of June, and track season is in full swing. So far ThrottleDad, ThrottleGirl, and I have done a few days and two overnights in the toy hauler. My last post on bringing a baby to the track was written almost a year ago when the little one was about six months old. She is now almost one and half. She is a walking, climbing, exploring toddler, and this has changed the packing game quite a bit. Here is what we’ve learned about camping with and entertaining a young toddler at the track.
Entertainment – Entertaining ThrottleGirl at track days has not been a problem. We usually pit with a large group of friends who all help keep an eye on her, and she is content to wander around, exploring and visiting. She loves meeting dogs and other kids, picking up rocks, and watching the bikes.
Naps – ThrottleGirl takes one nap a day when we are at home, but at the track she takes two. She doesn’t sleep as well in the trailer as she does at home, and the environment at the track is exhausting. For naps, we walk her to sleep in the stroller, then push the stroller into the toy hauler. It is well soundproofed, and the air conditioner keeps it comfortable on hot days.
Bedtime – Our toy hauler has two full beds that you can raise to the ceiling during the day, and lower into bunk beds at night. ThrottleGirl and I share the bottom bunk, and ThrottleDad sleeps on the top bunk. I put her to bed in the evenings and set up the video baby monitor so I can hang out with friends outside while still keeping an eye on her. ThrottleGirl wakes up with the sun, which is why I have blackout curtains on her windows at home. We need to rig something for the toy hauler to prevent her from waking up at 5am on summer mornings. We are going to try draping a curtain across the lower bunk to keep it darker for our next overnight trip.
Eating – Snacks and hydration are the keys to keeping ThrottleGirl comfortable. Our favorite snacks include baby food pouches, cereals, peanut butter sandwiches, cold fresh fruits, and pre-cooked veggies. This past weekend we learned that Pedialyte comes in popsicle form, and we will pack those for all future summer weekends. ThrottleGirl tends to get diarrhea when we travel and she does not like to drink Pedialyte. It is tough getting her to eat and drink enough while there is so much going on and it is so hot. We’ve had the best luck getting her to eat meals in the trailer where there are few distractions, and encouraging her to eat and drink throughout the day.
- For kids in diapers, use diaper rash cream as a preventative measure. It’s hot out there, your child may have more caustic poop than usual due to changes in diet, and with all the commotion you may not be as on top of diaper changes as you usually are.
- Make sure to provide chill-out time. ThrottleGirl doesn’t know when to say when and needs us to bring her inside for some reading time, a snack, a change of clothes, or just a little time hanging out with her stuffed animals instead of hot asphalt and gas cans.
- Be attentive. It is easy to get caught up in the day and neglect the little ones, especially when they are distracted and don’t come ask you for help as often as they may when things are calm. Pay attention to their signals, check diapers often, keep offering them drinks and snacks, and keep a constant eye on them.
The track is a challenging environment for a little one. It’s hot, noisy, and there is a lot going on which can make for an overwhelming environment. You can help your kids cope by providing plenty of snacks and drinks throughout the day, following their lead when it comes to naps, and taking the time to relax in a cool, quiet space. Then all that’s left is to enjoy the day with family, friends, and bikes.