Today’s post is from Jolie who blogs at The Gray Matters. She’s been brave enough to take long road trips with her son, and I am feeling ready to take on the challenge as well after reading her tips! Let me know what you think!
Since my son was born, I have been a work from home mom. This lends itself to lots of errands and an ability to travel with my husband for work (and just for fun, too). We do short trips (an hour or two) pretty regularly, and we have done several long trips with much success! My son is pretty well a pro at car travel, and I like to think it’s partially because I am a prepared mom. Short or long, road trips can be painless with a little preparedness.
Want to have successful car trips with your littles? Here are a few of our best tips and tricks!
1. Have a designated car bag.
We always keep a bag or basket in the car specifically for all my son’s things (we have had several different ones depending on age and need at the time). When my son was younger, we had a basket with his teething toys. Currently we use a bag with an open top and lots of pockets. We have had several things in between!
2. Pack a variety of items.
Kids’ attention spans are short! You don’t want them to run out of activities before you reach your destination.
Some of our favorites:
- Small toys: cars, Legos, army men (I don’t speak girl very fluently)
- Snacks: think freeze dried fruit, raisins, nuts (things that can survive hot or cold)
- Educational activities: small books, colors, markers—Color Wonder will save your seats, a notebook or coloring book, stickers, magazines, workbooks
- Small electronics: Leapster, iPad, Nabi, etc. (don’t forge the headphones!)
- Sunglasses: we keep a couple of pair in the car so he can choose which pair he wants and switch as he so desires
The key here is to pack without input from the child—otherwise you’ll end up with more stuff than you need and a lack of organization!
3. Bring water.
We keep a refillable water bottle (one for myself and one my son) in the car so we can fill it up before we leave or while we’re on the road. This significantly lowers our stops because someone is thirsty.
4. Organize it.
We use small containers, pockets in our car bag, mesh pencil pouches, and any other means necessary to keep everything organized. When we get out of the car, we put everything back where it belongs so we are ready to roll next time. Being organized takes practice and some reinforcement, but it’s so worth it.
5. Encourage sleep.
Travel at nap or nighttime. Bring a favorite lovey, blanket, or stuffed animal. Dress the kids in their pajamas. Some kids fall asleep right away in the car, others not so much. Know your child and plan accordingly. Leave at bedtime and drive through the night, leave early in the morning before your child is usually awake.
6. Have something up your sleeve.
Going on a long trip? Keep something new as a surprise for a long stretch when something more is needed. Stash away something your child has never seen before prior to heading out. Only bring it out in dire circumstances. It’ll save your sanity if things are trying toward the end of the trip.
7. Have fun!
Dance in the car. Sing with your kids. Play the ABC Game (take turns looking for letters on signs, cars, etc). Enjoy your time together!
For more from Jolie, you can find her around the web here: