Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Aaahh, the joy of traveling with kids. The holiday season is in full swing, and if you’re like me with families in two cities, you may have to load up the gas guzzler and hit the road. We all know how challenging traveling with children can be, especially small ones, but alas! I have a few tips that have definitely saved my husband and I a few headaches. And the kids make it out ok, too!
#1 Leave late or SUPER early. I have a four year old and a two year old, and that equals energy. Kids don’t like to sit still, especially for hours on end. My trips are usually 4 hours or more, so it helps if they can nap for a bit. By leaving around bed time or waking them earlier than usual, their little bodies may be more inclined to catch a few zzz’s, at least passing an hour or two.
#2 Potty before heading out the door. This is a must. Small bladders make for frequent trips to the restroom, and that can extend your time on the road. By going to the restroom before leaving, you may be able to drive at least a couple of hours before that first stop.
#3 Use pull-ups. Remember those small bladders? Well, let’s be honest—you may get caught off guard with “mommy, I have to GOOOOOOOO,” with the next rest stop being miles away. My little ones ALWAYS wear pull-ups on road trips, even though they’re both potty trained. I just can’t expect them to hold their bladders very long when they feel the urge to go. They understand that if it’s an emergency, they are allowed to go in the pull-up, and we simply change them once we reach the rest stop. Trust me. You would much rather do this than clean up accidents along the way. This brings me to the fourth tip…
#4 Pack extra clothing. Should you chose not use pull-ups on the trip, or if things get a bit messy at lunch time, it’s nice to have spare outfit or two on hand. I certainly wouldn’t want to site in a puddle of juice for hours, and neither do your little ones.
#5 Pack healthy snacks. If the kids get restless, distract them with food. But make sure the snacks aren’t too salty. Remember, small bladders. Salty snacks makes for thirsty children, and well, you know the rest. Try fruit like apple or orange slices that naturally have water and juice content.
#6 Have plenty of activities. We have a portable DVD player as well as a tablet on deck to entertain the kids. We also have a CD full of their favorite songs. Have them play educational games or watch their favorite program or movie. Unless you have Wi-fi in the car and can stream, don’t forget to download those movies and games onto your device!
#7 Get involved and have fun! Yes, road trips can be fun. Play family games like “Name that tune” (our favorite) or “I spy with my little eye…” Keeping the energy up will put everyone in good spirits. Plus, the bonding time is priceless!
So that’s it. After a few rounds of games and a movie or two, you will have arrived at your destination in no time. Who knows, maybe you’ll even start to look forward to hitting the road!
Share some of your favorite road trip tips in the comments below!