With the holiday season upon us, kids are strapped in for long car rides. To make the trip the most pleasant and minimize the “Are We There Yet”s, we would like to share several things parents can do to keep their kids and themselves happy. While some of them likely are familiar to you, some may be good reminders others may provide you with new ideas.
Pack Healthy Snacks
Kids often get hungry during car rides and a hungry child is an unhappy child. Remember to keep their bellies happy but your car clean, so refrain from bringing anything messy. We’ve looked at Koa’s 30 Healthy Snacks for your Next Epic Road Trips and found trail mix, dried fruits, cheese sticks, or granola bars are some of the best-served snacks.
Do not forget to bring a small garbage bag! Snacks produce happy smiles and trash that you do not want to be smeared on your car seat. On the off chance that there is a mess, don’t forget to pack some napkins and towels! For inspiration on healthy and car-friendly snacks, Koa’s has
Plan your Pit Stops in Advance
Children have a harder time understanding how much time has passed and can get antsy. Depending on how long your car ride is, plan one or two pit stops along the way so your kids can stretch their legs and if needed, take a bathroom break. Their bladders are smaller than an adult’s and will have to pee at some point, even when they went right before getting into the car.
Bring Toys and Books!
Keep your child entertained the classical way! Bring some of your child’s toys and make sure they are small enough to fit between the seat cushions so they have easy access to them and can grab it themselves.
Bring a Tablet or small TV
Toys and books can keep your child entertained for a while but after a bit, they will lose their interest. During a long car ride, it is okay to be more lenient towards their screen time. You can either put a fun TV show or educational movie on a DVD player or you can put on a fun educational game on the phone or tablet.
Play Road Trip Games
When the toys, books, and electronics have failed you, traditional road trip games are still in your toolbox! Here is our favorite games for younger kids on the road from Traveling Mom’s Road-Tested Car Games for Kids
- In My Suitcase: start off with the sentence “I’m going on a vacation, and I packed ___”, and fill that blank in with an item that starts with the letter ‘A’. The next person will do the same but with the letter ‘B’. The game continues until you run down the alphabet.
- I Spy: a classic game, perfect for children who are continually increasing their vocabulary! Try it out with things that are in the car.
- What Color Is It? Recite a list of things that are the same color and your child will have to guess what color you are thinking of.
Keep a First Aid Kit Close
It is better to be safe than sorry and on long car rides accidents do happen but keeping a few band-aids, over-the-counter medication, and Neosporin nearby will prove to be helpful.
Separate the Kids:
If you are traveling with more than one kid, it is recommended by Fullsuitcase.com’s Road Trip Guide to keep them as physically far apart as possible. Kids can feel when another is distressed and when one of your kids get sad, it will cause a domino effect.
Car rides with young kids can be the hardest part about traveling but it provides some time with the whole family. So, if none of these tips work, turn on some music, sing, and tell stories of when you were younger. Happy traveling!