Surviving A Long Train Journey With A Toddler – NO SCREENS!

Surviving A Long Train Journey With A Toddler – NO SCREENS!

We’re seasoned train travellers with our little Robot son.  He’s 2 and while most our journeys are less than an hour we have destination south coast in our sights.  Visiting Family that live across country with a fun-filled 7 hour train journey.  Yikes.

With Christmas round the corner quite a lot of people will be considering catching the train to visit family.  I figured it would be a good time to share with you a trip I made solo with my toddler back in the Summer.  I was a tad daunted to say the least but knew we’d be okay.

I see a lot of kids put in front of a tablet watching programmes or playing their favourite computer games.  I really don’t have a problem with this at all, everyone has to do what they need to do for peace.  My issue is that I don’t own a tablet and have very low data on my phone so I really can’t use this as a means of entertainment.

This is what we do instead…

Plan your train journey

Some train journey destinations are not straight forward.  Often you need to change trains at major train stations.   This trip to the south coast for me uses a total of 5 trains plus the London Underground.   All that changing sounds bad right?  No.

As long as all the trains are running on time all those changes are a good thing.  Each change equals a new train, new seats.  It adds variety to your toddlers day.    There will always be one train that is longer than the rest.   Plan to have your pack lunch on this one to spread the time out.

Try and travel in the day.  Miss those commuter trains.

robot looking out the window with his toy cars in hand

Pack well

Don’t over pack!!  You need to be able to carry everything you need for your holiday.   Depending on where you are going you need to remember you are not travelling to the end of the earth.  Two weeks?  You don’t need to take two weeks of nappies, there will be shops where you are going.  Buy things there.   Clothes, difficult for long trips but hopefully you can use a washing machine or laundrette when you get there!  Keep things to a minimum as much as possible

The Robot has his own backpack.  Yes he’s a little 2 but he loves a

back pack.  We use a Little Life back pack that is used as reigns as well.  It’s not massive but we make him carry any toys he wants for his holiday in this bag.  It means his entertainment is in one place.  We’ve kind of have a small toy philosophy at Two Tiny Hands, so packing his toys is easy.  A few mini cars and trains, a couple of mini books, pencil crayons and a colouring pad, a mini sticker book are all things that go in his bag.   Get them to pack what they want so they knows what they have.


We just touched on the things we pack for the Robot on a train journey.  He’ll happily play with his cars at for ages, especially on a tilting train that rolls the cars back and forth along the table.   Their toys are not their only source of entertainment…

  • If you’ve got one as cute as mine, they’ll play peekaboo with any stranger on the train.  More often than not people are happy to oblige.
  • I Spy… The concept of I spy is lost on my 2-year-old but it doesn’t mean you can’t look out the window and just spot stuff.
  • Magazines.  Not one that I buy often, if at all,  most trains have a magazine at the end of the carriage.  We often flick through these looking for things we know.
  • Sing.  Lose all your inhibitions people and crack open your best nursery rhymes!
  • Snacks & Lunch.  Does what it says on the tin really.  Having a readily pack lunch with all their favourite goodies will entertain for ages!
  • Sleep.  The rocking train might just send your toddler to sleep.  Rare for me but he does drop off!

robot asleep in the woven sling wrap

Long waits/Changes

It’s not for everyone but we swear by baby/toddler carriers.   I use a woven wrap but there are a whole host of ways to attach your child to you.  I never take a buggy as alone it becomes a nightmare for me but I see strangers are normally happy to help people out who have a toddler strapped in a buggy.

If using a buggy then carry your other luggage in a rucksack.   I prefer a rucksack when I carry my son too, practice!  The Robot get’s carried up front or on my hip and the bag on the back.  Personal preference.

Every toddler wants to walk too.  So having the ability to have him up and down is great.  When he walks his back pack comes in handy, more often than not a train station is new and wonderful place so the Robot happily holds my hand tight but just incase his bag has a reign attached to it so I can stop him running off.

karen and robot sat at a train station

It is harder to entertain your toddler at a train station but I’ve found he is happy to just watch people and point stuff out he can see.  As a train lover, you can imagine how that goes… ooo look trains…

Good Luck

Hopefully you know your own kids temperament.   The Robot is a chilled out kid so this kind of train journey doesn’t phase me.  Just remember that if you stay calm and un-stressed this might rub off on your child.   In the event it all goes wrong with the journey train station staff will always help point you in the right direction.  I’ve never been known to be stranded before.

So I wish you luck wherever you are travelling. You’ve got this!



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