Traveling when you have kids isn’t as carefree as it was during your child-free days. It requires planning and a lot of trouble-shooting to make sure you have a successful trip and as few meltdowns as possible. Here are some tips to make sure you have smooth sailing on your road trip.
Make Some Extra Stops
If you’ve got a long car trip ahead of you, make sure you pencil in plenty of stops so your kids can stretch their legs.
Letting your child run around a park like a maniac for a few minutes can help prevent a tantrum, and it will burn off some of the energy he’s been stockpiling while he’s been sitting for so long.<[>Car rides can be boring enough when you’re an adult. At least you’re tall enough to look at the scenery that’s passing by you. Imagine how your toddler feels. Unless his car seat is extraordinarily tall, all he can see is what’s in the car. That’s not too entertaining for hours on end.
Buy a DVD Player for Your Car
To make sure your toddler is engaged in something while sitting patiently, or impatiently as the case may be, you could spring for a DVD player for your car. It would hook on the back of your headrest on your seat.
The sight of his favorite cartoon characters will bring him some joy and you’ll like that’s he’s having fun. This is one of the best ways to ensure a quieter trip for everyone in the vehicle.
Plan Extra Time to get to Your Destination
Sticking to a schedule when you’re on the road with a toddler is almost impossible. At some point, he’s going to need to make an unscheduled bathroom break.
He’s not doing it to make you mad. He’s still learning the ins and outs of being potty trained, so grit your teeth and make the stop.
Pack a Blanket
Your toddler may be cold in the car when you’re the perfect temperature. Tossing a blanket, and even a little pillow, in the car may be all the comfort he needs to squeeze in a nap or two during your trip. More naps mean less grumpiness later.
A Bucket or Vomit Bag
Many kids get sick on long car rids, especially when they have empty stomachs. You should keep a box of crackers up front with you to make sure your child has something to gnaw on when he gets sick. And keeping a bucket or vomit bag in the trunk or backseat is a good idea for the times when crackers aren’t enough to fight the nausea.
Shannon Serpette is a mother of two and an award-winning journalist and freelancer who lives in Illinois. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.