To start, the cab is small, and the days are long so keeping everything organized is a huge help. As part of my morning walk-around, I sweep the cab out, wipe surfaces and make sure everything is in its place. Ideally, I’ve also done this the night before during cool down, but when it doesn’t happen at night it surely happens in the morning.
Side Note: Minivans come with vacuums built in… Would really love to see John Deere add those!
Certainly, still packing the boppy for older kids. Works amazing for sleep, play, and lounge. One of the greatest mom tricks I ever learned from fellow farm moms.
When Kade was 8-10 months at harvest, I also saw the advice to pack a laundry basket with a blanket inside. It worked perfect to help support him while sitting and still giving freedom to move outside of being buckled in the seat.
We use the wrap all the time, including in the cab. Literally, it’s used all the time! I have three in rotation and couldn’t do this without them.
Is there a better way? Probably! But what I’ve been doing when I have a dirty diaper in the cab is setting it out on the steps, I know, I know! Or use the mini garbage bags to tie it on to the outside railing.
There is always a stack of diapers kept stocked in the cab if it’s a piece of equipment I’m in for a bit, plus more packed in the backpack cooler front pocket.
Wipes are also always stocked in the cab because they work for everything! I’ll probably keep wipes around long after we are done with diapers.
Picking up randomness throughout the day or trying not to let it all fall out when the door needs to open is not something I’m fond of! An activity cube like this solves all my problems, plus it’s easy to move between cabs.
We also pack along plenty of books. BONUS: the kids do a great job of bringing books with them in their buckets and leaving them in other places around the farm or other cabs so our rotation strategy is strong!
We do use some small toys. No particular plan other than what the kids pack in their buckets or backpacks can come along.
Dry erase markers work perfect on windows! The kids love to have a quick drawing break. We use the door in the combine and a window away from the door in the tractor or sprayer; usually while they are in the buddy seat or opposite corner of the door.
Conversation keeps them occupied also. More than anything, we talk about everything. It’s incredible what they notice!
Snacks. So many snacks. Then stored in an area where they can help themselves because that’s at least another five minutes of an activity!
Routine. I try really hard to have the same structure to the day as if we weren’t in the cab. If we get going before lunch we play, eat lunch, rest, and then play again. We are not one of the lucky families who have kids that will fall asleep on their own to the sweet lull of the engine. We intentionally lay down to rest the same as if we were anywhere else.
We talk often about the following:
- Front window of the combine is not for leaning or touching.
- All doors are treated as if they could pop open. No leaning or touching.
- Buttons are for the driver only.
- Horns and screaming/yelling is for emergencies.
- If there was an emergency, what would we do.
- Waiting until the driver of a machine has acknowledged you that it is safe to get in or walk around.
- Being aware of the situation around us. Are we in a safe place? Does the operator see us?
- Now that Kade is 3, we are working on showing him how to shut down equipment in an emergency.
- Discuss the process so that everyone understands where machines and people will likely be moving. Also, watching out for others while we observe.
- Seatbelts while traveling down the road.
- Leave as much stocked in the cab as possible.
- A backpack style cooler or bag makes all the difference.
- Find a place for everything so that there can be order.
- Have enough blankets to rotate through the wash and back.
- Less is more. Watching their imaginations be content with a muslin blanket for a few rounds is magic. An afternoon of conversation, also magic.
- We take our shoes off and get comfortable. Plus it keeps everything a bit cleaner.
Experience has been more helpful that anything else. More than likely there will be a difficult portion of a day, but along with it come many magical moments of getting to spend this time together.