When I was younger, before I was a parent, the notion of a “road trip” seemed really romantic. The idea of the long road, stretching out in front of you. Miles of space, not knowing where you were going. I have since realised that road trips are in fact really dull. I am not a road trip sort of person, even without kids, I hate being cooped up in a car for anything longer than an hour.
If I don’t like road trips, I can hardly expect my kids to relish them.
The monotony. The sitting still. The not running around.
The feeling sick.
Despite my reluctance, we do still manage to get in the car and drive to places relatively frequently. Yep, all four kids squished into one car.
We set off, filled to the brim, over flowing with teddies and toys, sprawling with arms and legs.
In fact, despite the monotony and tediousness, we do love road trips. That element of the unknown. That setting off on an adventure.
That excitement of a holiday.
How to Enjoy Road Trips with Kids
- Comfort. Let your kids get comfortable. If it’s winter, they may want a duvet. Or a fan in summer. Want to take off their shoes and socks? No problem.
- Just sitting. I do have lots of activities to keep them occupied, but I keep them in store for later on, when they start to get restless and want a change.
- Activities. If your kids don’t suffer from car sickness, they can do all sorts of things such as reading, writing, colouring. If they do suffer from car sickness, you want them to be looking out of the windows, preferably straight ahead. Reading will only make car sickness worse. We have activities such as music, audio books, word games, maths games, singing and sleeping. (Haha)
- Stop frequently. We aim to stop every 2 hours. Sometimes it’s every 5 minutes for people to go to toilet or be sick. If you do have to stop, let people get our of the car, run around and shake off the cramps.
- Healthy snacks. Carrot sticks, hummus, raisins, fruit. Try to stick to your normal routine, you don’t want your kids to be eating just because they are bored.
- Know what you need to hand. I always have a bag of things that I think I might need. Change of clothes for the vomiter, “poo mouse” for Celeste who won’t sleep without her. Water.
- Break it up. Sometimes you just want to get to where you’re going. Other times it can be great to explore somewhere new and exciting in between your destination. Make an excursion of it.
- Time. Schedule more time that you think you’ll need. Feeling rushed is one of the worst things when your kids are complaining. If you arrive early, that’s a bonus.
Enjoy Your Road Trip
Road trips can be hard work, especially if you’re traveling with toddlers who aren’t old enough to understand that they have to be strapped into a seat.
We’ve had loads of adventures on the road, loads of new places we’ve discovered because although we were only half an hour from home we knew we’d all break if we stayed in the car a minute longer.
Even though I’m not a “road trip” sort of person, I’ve discovered that road trips with children can be an adventure. We’ll look back in a few years at our memories of road trips with young kids and cherish them.
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