It’s summertime and that means a lot of you will be partaking in some long road trips with the kids. Trips to grandmas, camping and beach trips are all in the near future. In honor of the most traveled four-day holiday weekend coming up, I’ve put together some tips on how to survive those long hours trapped inside your car with the kids. Let’s be honest – it’s not fun or funny. The whining, complaining, kicking of the seats, potty stops, oh I can go on and on but let’s try and look at the finish line and all the wonderful memories you will create with your family on your summer vacation. Positive thinking mommies! Read below for tips on how to stay sane while hitting the road this summer.
PAPER TOWELS - there will be mess. Spills, food, barf, you name it. A roll of paper towels, extra wipes and even some rags always come in handy when you are on the road.
BLANKET TO COVER THE SUN- especially if you have a small baby on the trip, it always helps to either have a sun shade or blanket on the windows to block out the pesky sun. Sun in your kids eyes will not cause a comfortable ride.
EXTRA PLASTIC BAG - to be used as a garbage bag. Just like there will be mess, there will be garbage. Food wrappers, those crumbled up paper towels. It's good to have a plastic bag handy and designated for trash.
BATH CADDIE - the bath caddie can come in handy for several things. It can hold toys, books, food, etc. Organization is always key or at least it makes you feel a little better with all the other chaos going on.
iPad – I'm not that mom that keeps my kids screen time limited and even if I was I wouldn't start now. The ipad games and movies are a life savior. It gives me at least 90 mins of quiet time. If you don't have data on your iPad just set up a hot spot from your phone. My son watched most of Shrek on our last trip and that gave mommy some much needed quiet time
SNACKS- make sure you have plenty of snack in the car. A hungry kid, is a not fun kid, so keep them munching.
PORTABLE POTTY- bring along a portable potty to help with the potty breaks. Sometimes it's much easier to pull of onto the side of the road, then to pull into a gas station or rest FAVORITE STUFFED ANIMAL OR BLANKET - Make sure you have their favorite before you leave the house - you don't want to have 8 hours of crying and whining about where "chuck" the monkey is. Just make sure "chuck" is buckled in for the ride before you take off.
TYLENOL- this is no joke. Have some aspirin handy for the headache that will come on.
WHAT TO DO
Play some games with your kids to pass the time. It might sound cheesy, but playing the classic road trip games not only helps the kids pass the time, but you as well.
ALPHABET GAME - you have to find the letter of the alphabet, starting with A and ending with Z, in a sign on the road. You can also play a variation of this game where you have to find something on the road that starts with the letter A to Z.
I SPY - Someone gives clues of something they see on the road until the correct answer is given.
20 QUESTIONS - One person thinks of a person, place or thing and everyone in the car asks a question that has a yes or no answer. After each question, the person guessing gets to guess until the someone guesses correctly.
LICENSE PLATE GAME - the aim of this game is to find a car with a license plate from each of 50 states. There are easy printables online now to make the game even easier and funner.
Make a map of your journey and mark historic or other landmarks that are along the way. This way you can make the trip a teachable moment and give the kids something to look forward to. You can even create a photo book of the journey with photos of you and your brood at all the interesting spots.
Sing some songs. Yup I said it. I'm not thinking just 99 BOTTLES OF BEER (err MILK) ON THE WALL or WHEELS ON THE BUS, but what about turning the radio up and getting the family to all sing along to LITTLE RED CORVETTE or some Justin Timberlake CAN'T STOP THE FEELING. Roll down the windows, put the party mix on and have the family sing on the top of their lungs. At least here there are no neighbors who would potentially call the police.
BRING A NEW TOY - it's always ideal to save a new toy for the ride. Something that has a lot of parts and will keep them entertained. Kids will get laser focused on something new and that will give you some time to veg. Just make sure if you have more then one kid to bring a new toy for each or else jealousy will strike and that will just cause a backseat fight. Who am I kidding? If you have two kids in the backseat there will be a fight or two or three. At that point mama, all I have for you is a prayer and the thought of a margarita at your final destination. Good luck!