My husband has spent a good deal of time working out-of-state, and because I homeschool our kids, I have been able to visit him fairly often. We have had fun exploring new places and learning about different areas. Unfortunately, the road trips back and forth are not always so easy. I’ve been making these trips with three kids for a while now, though, and I have learned a few things that help. Here are ten tips to make road tripping with kids a lot easier.
1. Pick your own music.
Sure, there are a lot of good kids’ albums on the market. I’m fond of Laurie Berkner, the They Might Be Giants kids’ collections, and even liked the Wiggles when Greg Page was part of the group. (Psst, he’s coming back!) But really, there’s only so much kiddie music I can take on a 6 hour trip. When I started playing my own tunes, we were all a lot happier.
2. Don’t abandon the Pull-Ups too soon.
It’s a long way between rest stops. Trust me, if your toddler has an accident, you’ll be a lot happier if she is in a Pull-Up than if you have to change her clothes and wash down her seat.
3. Pack a little cooler of snacks.
You may not have to stop so often if you have cold drinks and snacks in the car.
4. Sunglasses and hats for everyone.
Nothing irritates a little kid more than sun in their eyes, but he can’t get out of his car seat and move around. Sunglasses and hats will help your little one survive the glare until the sun goes down.
5. Don’t forget your acetaminophen.
Acetaminophen is a great pain reliever, and won’t upset your stomach on a long car ride. Take it at the very first sign on a headache or back pain.
6. Consider having a picnic.
If you aren’t on a big time crunch, consider stopping for a leisurely picnic in the park instead of eating burgers while you drive. Your kids can run around and stretch, and they might nap a while once you are back on the road. Sure, you add time to the overall trip, but it is so worth it.
7. New books for everyone.
If you are going on a short trip, you can check out books from the library and have them back in plenty of time. Get a bunch of books for each kid and put them in a plastic crate. You can add coloring books and markers, too, but skip the crayons if you are traveling in the heat unless you want to come back to a crayon puddle after lunch.
8. Baby blankets are handy.
Sometimes one of your kids will be chilly while the other ones are warm. A few baby blankets are easy to stow and everyone can have one of their very own.
9. Travel pillows encourage naps.
A travel pillow or a Pillow Pet will give your child a nice place to rest, and may keep them quiet for a while. Again, make sure each child has one of their own.
10. Take care of yourself.
If you are drowsy and find yourself nodding as you drive, stop. You may just need to get out and walk around in the fresh air a bit, or it may be time to call it a day and get a hotel room. Whatever you do, don’t push yourself beyond your limits and risk an accident. Stop, take a break, and then decide if you are able to drive on.
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