As I am writing this blog, I am on some interstate heading back home from my brother’s law school graduation in North Carolina. Traveling with me is my sister, her three and a half year old, her twenty month old and my teething eight month old. It may be premature as we haven’t made it home alive quite yet, but here are some tips on how to successfully navigate a road trip with children in tow.
The Dollar Store is your friend. Before we hit the dusty trail we made a detour to our local Dollar Tree to stock up on some new toys for the girls. Each child got a small basket and we filled it with fun and different items. Some of our staples included stickers, notebooks, flash cards, new sippy cups, and wacky glasses. We also got a few little picture albums and printed off pictures for the girls to look at. Toys don’t have to be complicated or expensive! We tried to keep the car as organized as possible and had bins and bags for trash, games, clothes, changing supplies, etc. Organization is key, and it’s important to keep everything as contained as possible when space is limited.
Stock up on snacks! Trail mix, crackers, dried fruit, and yes, bribery food. When things got really rough, a couple packs of M&Ms bought us another half hour of drive time. Teething biscuits under close supervision also helped the little one pass the time. We had water bottles at arms reach and cups for the older girls at all times.
Even with small children, you can play some road games. We practiced letters and colors by looking at signs on the highway and cars driving by. Farm life provided opportunities for animal noises and some silly sounds and passing semi trucks provided lots of honking entertainment. (Remember doing that when you were a kid?) Make sure to take lots of “ants in the pants” stops. McDonalds playgrounds provide some cheap playtime, as do parks or museums along your route.
Get some jams! To keep our sanity my sister and I had fun dancing our butts off to some Adele and FUN! In the car. While at first the kiddos (rightfully) thought we had lost our minds, they soon joined in on the clapping and booty shaking that was happening up in the front seats. So if you have a few miles to go, the kids have had it and you’re looking for the nearest wine store, crank that music and dance it out. You can make it!
Throw your ETA out the window and go at your own pace. Make sure that your carseats are safe and clean, offer up a little prayer, and hit the open road! Safe travels, friends.