Long car rides with kids require planning and lots of patience. I have taken 10 hour car rides with my kids several times, and these are some things I have learned for surviving the trip (mostly the hard way). By the way, this is the continuation of my first post “The Joys of Travel.”
- Understand that road trips are no place for potty training, unless you want to ruin your car’s interior or stop every 15 minutes. Take it from me, it’s much safer to slap on the extra absorbent diapers and call it good.
- Pack a goodie bag full of healthy snacks such as fruit which tends to be filling. Stay away from messy fruits such as bananas that are very difficult to clean when they get squished between the seats.
- Pack a variety of movies for the DVD player, otherwise you will end up (like me) watching the movie “Elf” (in the middle of summer) over and over again to the point of insanity.
- Make pit stops long often enough to allow children to run off their energy. Breaks are also a good way to prevent car sickness (I learned this the hard way).
- Pack in a well-organized manner and prepare for unpredictable situations that might arise (the list is endless). Remember, it is always better to over prepare then under prepare!
- Do NOT give your kids Benadryl with the idea it will help your child sleep. In case you were not aware, the “drowsy” effect that the medicine is supposed to give children can totally go in the opposite direction!
- Bring empty bottles if you have boys. These can be convenient items to have on hand just in case you can’t reach a rest stop in time (I also learned this the hard way).
- Arrange the seating strategically to avoid conflict. If you have a handful of children, like I do, it’s best to keep the loudest two kids apart.
- Pack ear plugs, which is explanatory (see photo).
- Play car ride games like “I Spy,” it will keep the children occupied for at least 15 minutes.
- Make sure your trip is well mapped out and that your GPS is programmed correctly. Otherwise, you may end up taking the long way to your destination and that’s a recipe for disaster with a car load of whiny kids!
Well that’s my advice for now. What do you do to survive a long car ride with kids?