Q. How can we make a long drive less painful?
A. Start your trip late at night so your child will sleep most of the way. If you don't feel comfortable driving through the night, stick to early-morning travel and limit time in the car to two-hour stints, with 15- to 30-minute stops to let her stretch and get some fresh air. "You may have a longer day of driving this way, but it's better than a shorter one with a cranky kid," says Rivoli.
If you don't have older kids, you or your spouse should sit in the back with your toddler. It's much easier to engage her with a book or pick up dropped toys when you're at her side. If you're still worried about how she'll behave, consider taking a one- or two-hour road trip ahead of time. The practice run will prepare her for extended periods in the car, and it will give you the chance to figure out what works and what doesn't.