When parents consider taking a road trip with kids there is a segment of the population who cringe. Visions of irritable children, squeals of “are we there yet?”, “I have to pee” dance in our heads and immediately we’re glad we aren’t stuck in that vehicle.
And yet at some point we all do it. We know in advance the pain we will have to endure but the end destination is thought to be worth it.
With this knowledge Hubby and I made the decision to join in with many summer cottagers and get a trailer in Muskoka, Ontario which is a 2.5 hour drive from our home. We have now been performing these road trips with the kids for a few years and I feel almost qualified to give you some tips which make our lives easier.
Tips To Survive Road Trips With Kids
Vehicle Maintenance – What could be worse than being stuck on the side of the road with your children waiting for tow truck? Scratch this possibility off the list by having your vehicle in for a tune up and inspection before you take a family road trip.
Know Your Kids & Plan Your Route – While we may be inclined to drive straight through to our destination this may not be possible with your children. Plan your route to make it an enjoyable experience. Find fun rest stops, shops or activities along the way to break up the trip. There will be far less frustration if you accommodate the needs of everyone onboard.
Involve the Kids in the Planning: Make a map of your route and investigate what you’ll see along the way. This can become a game for everyone to find landmarks, explore and learn. Perhaps discuss the length of the journey and plan out what in-car activities you’ll participate in on a schedule.
Electronic Entertainment: If you have a portable DVD player, phones or other electronic entertainment devices make sure they are fully charged and loaded with some movies or games. Earphones will also become invaluable, a child who is struggling with sharing space can find themselves privacy by closing their eyes and listening to their choice or music.
Inexpensive Entertainment: There’s nothing like the Dollar Store for finding inexpensive entertainment. Make a trip and gather some items which your child will enjoy. Pack these into little bags and present your children with a bag ever half hour so they have something new to experience. We also love little white boards, these are inexpensive and our girls love to draw along the way.
Comfort: Whether it’s from boredom or fatigue, it’s common to see a few heads dropping off along the ride. While we all inwardly cheer, this can lead to stiff-neck whining as they awaken. Pick up an inexpensive neck pillow for each child while at the Dollar Store or bring along their pillows and stuffed animals for comfort.
Feed the Antsy Beast: Bring along a cooler jammed with small portions of healthy snacks which can be handed out at intervals along the way. Visions of a clean vehicle are tossed aside as their “I’m hungry” whines bash our eardrums, thus the need for sustinance. Be mindfull of beverages, small bladders mean pit-stops, choose fruits which will quench thirst or ice chips to munch on.
Must Haves: Road trips and food mean filthy, sticky hands so have some wipes ready to go. First Aid Kit – yes bring a mini one, you never know when or why you’ll need a bandaid.
These are just a few of the tips we use on our family road trips, do you have some sure-fire solutions you’d like to share?
Great road trip tips, Julie! With all the road trippin’ you guys are doing, you’re seasoned professionals!
Love this! Just in time for my 8 hours (or 10..) road trip with 2 young kids. Thanks for the good tips!
Yes snacks and drinks are so important. Got to keep the kids fed!
i’m packing the van for an 8-10 hour dirve tomorrow, too. got a 5 and 2 year old plus a german shep all making the trip. it’s going to be a long day. luckily we plan to leave in the afternoon and hope they will sleep at bedtime and we’ll have a few hours of peace.
I’m planning a 14 hour trip with a 2 & 5 yr old and a toy poodle…. I’m freaking out, these list HELP a heap. Hopefully I can follow the guidelines well and not have an AWFUL experience. This will be our first time ever on a long road trip.