I am sure this article title just gave you some nightmares. My family has been opting to drive instead of flying for nine years now. Throughout this time, I have traveled with a newborn, toddler, and now children and a dog. Most of our trips have been over 10 hours. This makes for a very long day and you need a day to recover so be sure to plan this into your trip. Typically, my family adds a day to the beginning and end of the trip for the day spent in the car. Here are some tips I have found make our road trips with kids of all ages more fun and manageable, using schedules, electronics, surprise bags, and snacks
Each stage of childhood presents its own unique challenges. With a newborn plan your trip around their schedule. Make sure you are stopping for food and to stretch when they are awake. This allows for you to travel further when they are asleep.
The same goes for a toddler, the rest stop will change though. For a toddler, you want to make sure you are stopping places where they can get out and run around. You need to give them time to run off some energy so the time in the car is less crazy.
You will want to pack surprise bags as well. Some suggestions for the surprise bag are –
- Coloring Kit includes a coloring book and a fresh pack of crayons. You want to be sure it is a coloring book they have never seen before. You can print out coloring pages as well.
- New small toddler approved toys. I have boys, so I used small cars (below 3 sized) and Little People toys.
- Movies. I always pack one brand new movie and then bring some of their favorites from home. I do this for my older kids as well.
Once the kids pass the toddler stage the road trips become easier since you can provide distractions with electronics. Also, they can tell you when they need something. We have an electronics bag pack which is a Zipper Pouch from Thirty-One. This is packed with their Nintendo DS and their Kindles. I have purchased a charging hub that allows me to car charge up to four devices and I make sure I have car chargers for everything.
Drinks and Snacks
The final thing I do is pack drinks and snacks, but I keep them in the truck. This limits them from grabbing for items and then increasing our potty break stops. Having snacks lets you go longer between meals. We make our two longest stops be for lunch and dinner. The long meals we usually stop some place where everyone can get out stretch. We also like to spend time outside of the car, even if this is just a rest stop picnic with sandwiches and grass to run in.
Now you can go and conquer road trip with kids without fear.