Heading out on the road with your kids soon? We wish you the best of luck in your journey. But if your journey is over three hours long, you’re going to need more than luck. You’ll need parenting hacks!
Here are our best tips to make your road trip less stressful, quieter, and much more fun.
Something about getting into a moving vehicle makes our children absolutely ravenous. So much so that we generally pack at least three snacks each even if we are just going down the street to get the car washed.
So when you are planning for a longer road trip, it stands to reason that you should pack so many snacks that there will be barely enough room in the car for your children. Try to avoid messy snacks that produce a lot of crumbs.
Never mind, all snacks produce crumbs. Somehow even bananas produce crumbs. Just lean into the fact that there will be crumbs.
Keep It Clean
With the intense amount of snacks you so wisely packed, there is going to be an equally intense amount of trash. Make sure you bring at least two plastic grocery bags with you for trash collection purposes so that the floors of your car don’t resemble the floor of a bar after last call. Or if you are trying to be green then get one of those cool little car bins.
Also, important – bring all of the baby wipes. That’s right, all of them. You will be thanking us later when young Jimmy tosses his cookies as you drive around a curve, or little Tina somehow manages to fling the entire contents of her sippy cup onto your face in a fit of backseat road rage.
Are your kids fighting in the backseat because someone is breathing on someone else? You can stop the fighting with threats to “turn this car around right now!” but if you have to get somewhere then realistically you aren’t going to turn the car around right now. So instead, you can:
- Calmly ask the children to stop arguing and use their polite words to resolve the issue.
- Offer suggestions on how they could work the problem out.
- Bring a giant piece of cardboard to fit in between the arguing children.
- Turn up the radio really loud to drown them out.
- Pick only your favorite kid and bring him or her on the trip.
All hail the electronics on road trips. Movies and games have their place in this world, and one of those places is most certainly the long road trip with children. Charge up all the devices and let those kids go to town.
But if the power runs dry and your car chargers are nowhere to be found, you’re going to need to non-cartoon related entertainment. Try one of these games:
- The Alphabet Game – Who can find the letters of the alphabet in order on the street signs? But this one only works for kids who can read, so if that’s not the case move on to…
- I Spy – I spy with my little eye, something that is green. The trees? The grass? Your carsick brother’s face?
- We’re Going on a Picnic – We’re going on a picnic and I’m going to bring something that starts with the letter A. An apple, an afghan, an armadillo, an avocado that your kid swore he loved yesterday but won’t touch today…
- The Silent Game – Who can stay quiet the longest!? This one might be our favourite.
The best way to travel in a car with kids is for at least one person to be unconscious. If you’re driving, then unfortunately you must be awake, so let’s get the kids sleeping instead!
If you can plan your road trip around an existing naptime, of course do that. That’s an easy win.
But if you can’t and you’d still like your wee ones to sleep for a good part of this trip to maintain your sanity, try putting on some classical music, some lullabies, or a podcast about the world economy.
Or you can suggest that everyone close their eyes and picture a movie in their mind. As a note, we’ve never seen this actually work but anything is worth a try, right?
Good luck on your road trip! Come back and tell us how you hacked your way from point A to point B.
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