This is advice from a friend and mother of four! If that doesn’t make her an expert on car rides, I don’t know what does!
Our family is large and we have a lot of extended family that lives out of town. That means many and frequent long car rides! It can be really hard with kids but here are a few tips I have learned along the way to help keep my sanity!
- Pack snacks for in the car or snacks for gas station and rest area stops. This will keep you away from the gas station or vending machine traps!
- Make sure to pack that favorite blanket or toy that is a “must have” for your child.
- Save some money for a new toy for in the car to help keep those little hands busy.
- Borrow some “new” book at the library or garage sale for the kids to look at
- Play road games: Count how many red cars you see! Whoever see the first yellow car wins! These can be adapted depending on the ages of the kids, but even older ones will get into the simplest “I Spy” games if they need something to do.
- Pack essentials: pacifiers, wipes, napkins, tissues, sippy cups, baby items and water bottles, then keep them handy! Having these items in arms reach will be a Godsend at the right time.
- If you or anyone else needs a break, just stop for a few minutes and let the kids play at a playground, rest stop or McDonalds with a Playplace. Let the kids burn off some energy before getting back in the car!
- Crayons, paper, stickers, and a pen keep my little girl busy and happy in the car.
- My older kids really enjoy audiobooks. They borrow them from the library, and sometimes the whole family listens to them. Other times they use personal CD players and headphones.
- Kids’ music CDs (again, borrowed from the library) are a must for our car rides. We also enjoy Disney movie soundtracks and short stories on CDs.
- Strike up a conversation! Many times the car is the best time to talk with your kids.
- Finally, it sounds corny but we sing! This worked great for a fussy baby, and everyone gets to help in calming her down.
Readers, what do you do to make travel easier on you and your kids?
We have a 7 month old and that's it so far. When he was 3 months old, we made the 425-mile trip to see our families. It was kind of awful.
We stopped often, but he just screamed and screamed bloody murder.
We're making the trip again in October and I"m hopeful that it'll go better! He doesn't sleep in his car seat, so I'm just going to lower my expectations and plan for frequent stops.