Toddlers + transit. We’re a one-car family, and since my husband needs the car for work, my son and I are without a car during the day. Thankfully, we live in an area with good public transportation, and we can walk a few places as well. This is a huge shift from when I was a young girl—there was almost no reliable public transportation.
Taking a toddler on transit is an interesting experience, but overall I think it’s a positive one.
- It helps teach patience (I cannot control when the bus is going to come, and we both have to wait patiently).
- It encourages more participation with the world. When you’re in your own car, it’s like your own little world, but being on transit means you need to engage with others. We say hello, thank you, and goodbye to the bus driver; we wait in lines, and we make small-talk with other passengers. (As an introvert I don’t always love this, I have to admit, but I still think they’re good life lessons.)
- It helps foster a more intimate connection with the world. In my experience, when we take transit, or wait for transit, the process is a lot slower than driving. We take time to notice the little things and reflect on the world around us.
I’m not going to pretend that I always love taking the bus! It means that I have to carry lots of things or push a stroller; it’s often raining here in Vancouver; and it really sucks to miss a connection (especially if my son is cranky). But at the same time, I try to frame it as a little adventure with my son, and it’s a key part of our low-waste life.
What about you? Do you have good transit options where you live? Do you take kids on transit? Any tips or tricks to share? Swipe to read my top tips!
My top tips for toddlers on transit
- Lots to carry? Bring a stroller if you can. If not, use a backpack so you can keep your hands free.
- Bring snacks and water! I also like to carry a wet/dry bag with a damp cloth and a little soap, just in case we need to clean up on-the-go.
- Waiting? Play a game, like “I Spy.” Or make a scavenger hunt list before you leave of things you want to try to spot when you’re out. A dog, a baby, a bicycle…
- Look up bus/train times in advance, and also use an app on your phone for real-time updates if you can.
- Explain the route in advance, including how long you might be waiting.
- Dress for the weather, with layers … and that includes you too!
- It doesn’t hurt to bring a small toy or book if the trip will be long.