The Best Tips and Tricks for Roadtripping with Kids
Are you thinking of taking a roadtrip with your kids but don't know where to start? Don't worry, you're not alone! Roadtripping with kids can be a challenge, but with the right tips and tricks, it can also be a fun and memorable experience. In this blog post, we'll provide you with the best tips and tricks for roadtripping with kids, so you can make sure your next trip goes smoothly. Read on to find out more!
Before you embark on any roadtrip, especially with kids, it’s important to plan ahead. Researching your destination and what activities are available for children can help ensure the success of your trip.
Look into kid-friendly attractions that are in the vicinity of your destination and decide which ones you’d like to visit. Consider visiting a national park or a zoo if those are available nearby. Local museums can also be great options for both educational and fun experiences. Make sure to book any tickets or reservations in advance so you don’t have to worry about finding availability later on.
Check out nearby restaurants that offer meals designed for children and consider packing healthy snacks so you can avoid unhealthy fast food temptations while on the road.
Also, make sure to plan out your route beforehand. Plot out the route to figure out how long the journey will take, including stops. This will give you an idea of when and how often you should be taking breaks along the way.
When it comes to packing for a family road trip with kids, it's important to make sure you have everything you need. Before I start packing, I like to do a load of laundry so that everything is clean and ready to go. I start with the basics: two pairs of socks and underwear per day, one pair of jammies for every two nights, and a change of clothes for each child for every day.
For each day of travel, I pack one long sleeve shirt, one short sleeve shirt, one pair of pants and one pair of shorts. I like to pack several sweaters and hoodies, along with some cozy sweats, swim wear and of course, a jacket. This way, the kids are covered no matter the weather.
In addition to clothes, depending on your child's age, you may also need to pack the following items:
- Diapers/Pull-Ups: If your child is still in diapers, be sure to bring enough for the entire trip.
- Sunscreen: You never know when the sun will come out, so it's always good to be prepared.
- Stroller: This can be used to give your kids a break from walking and also for carrying any snacks or toys.
- Toys: Pack a few toys and books for each kid, just in case they get bored in the car.
- First Aid Kit: You'll want to make sure that you have some basic supplies on hand in case of any emergency.
- Snacks: Having snacks on hand will help keep everyone happy and well-fed during the trip.
- Blankets & Pillows: These can come in handy if anyone gets sleepy while on the road.
Packing up for a family road trip doesn't have to be a stressful task. With a bit of planning ahead, you can make sure that you have everything you need to keep everyone comfortable and entertained throughout the journey.
On the Road
Road trips can be a great opportunity to bond with your family, but they can also be quite the challenge with kids in tow. With a little planning and some creative ideas, you can make sure that everyone has a safe and enjoyable trip.
To keep kids occupied while on the road, there are a few solutions that work well. Headphones (these are life savers for us parents), gaming devices, and iPads are all popular sources of entertainment for kids these days. If these devices are used judiciously, they can help pass the time in the car without causing too much distraction for the driver. Be sure to keep them charged and have plenty of movies, apps, and games loaded up for the journey.
Our kids love playing various games and listening to their music while we drive. So, I do have to say, we all appreciate those headphones.
Of course, between little naps, and them playing on their various devices, we love to chat about the places we go. We love pointing out cool sites we see and just having fun family conversations. We find that our kids tend to open up a lot during these long drives, so they are great opportunities to truly bond as a family.
We do like to play lots of silly games as well. Would-You-Rather comes to mind. It's always hilarious. If you're looking for a few fun games for your drive, road trip bingo is always a fun game for the whole family. Print out some bingo cards in advance with squares featuring things like passing cars of certain colors or restaurants you might pass along the way. As you drive, when someone spots one of the items on the card, they can cross it off. The first person to get five in a row wins.
You could also opt to go the old-fashioned route and have your kids keep their eyes peeled for license plates from different states. As you cross state lines, have your kids try to guess where each license plate is from. This game can also be adapted by having them guess which state each driver is from just by looking at their car.
No matter what activities you choose to do while on the road, it’s important to take regular breaks and check-in with your kids to make sure they’re staying engaged and having fun. By setting up a few ground rules before you depart, you can make sure that your road trip is a memorable experience for all involved.
Pit stops can be a great way to break up the monotony of a long road trip and keep your kids entertained. Here are a few tips for making pit stops with your kids:
1. Stop at interesting places like roadside attractions, scenic overlooks, or tourist traps. These kinds of stops help break up the trip and offer something different and unexpected.
2. Let your kids pick out their own snacks at gas stations or convenience stores. This will give them a sense of autonomy while they're on the trip and they'll feel more involved in the adventure.
3. Take short walks or hikes around each stop you make. Even if it's just a 10 minute walk, it will help get the blood flowing and provide a change of scenery that will make the rest of the drive more enjoyable.
4. Let your kids explore. If you see a playground, let them run around for a bit. If there's a beach, let them dip their toes in the water. Encourage them to explore and take in their surroundings.
5. Take photos at each stop you make so that you have memories of your journey together.
By taking breaks from driving every now and then, you can ensure that your family remains refreshed and energized for the rest of the trip!
Dealing with Tantrums
Tantrums can be one of the most challenging parts of road-tripping with kids, but there are ways to minimize their frequency and intensity.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that when a child is having a tantrum, they’re expressing their feelings in the only way they know how. I know they say that it’s our job as parents to help them manage their feelings and get back on track. Unfortunately, that's not always as easy as it sounds. For instance, one of our boys will start crying that his tummy hurts, when he gets extremely sleepy. It took me a few months to figure this out when he was smaller. So now, when I hear him start to wine about his tummy, before it even gets to the crying stage, I ask him to close his eye for me. He might fight it a bit, but the minute he closes his eyes, he falls asleep.
Other times, he might get overwhelmed with staying in the car for long periods of time. This also manifests in tiny breakdowns. So we simply pull over, go for walks or just stop for hugs.
Tantrums are never fun, but if we prepare, they are a little more manageable.
One tactic is to give your children the tools they need to stay calm while in the car. Packing plenty of snacks and drinks, as we already discussed, as well as books, toys, or other activities they can do while on the road, helps a lot. For younger children, consider a few car-friendly surprises like new stuffed animals or coloring books that they can enjoy during the drive.
It’s also important to provide consistent structure and keep a regular schedule while traveling. This will help your child feel secure and reduce the likelihood of a tantrum. This is where those planned bathroom breaks, snack times, and activity breaks come in to help so your child knows what to expect throughout the day.
Road trips with kids can be an incredibly fun and rewarding experience if you take the time to prepare beforehand. By taking some extra steps to anticipate potential pitfalls along the way, you can ensure that you’re prepared to handle whatever comes your way - including tantrums!
One of my favorite things to do is to purchase children's books about the places we visit while visiting. After you return from your road trip with the kids, we read these books at bedtime. We all absolutely love this tradition because it gives us a few more nights to wrap up our trip. It allows us to reminisce about our adventure, and process what we saw and experienced. It allows us to reflect on our journey through fun books and stories.
Keepsakes can help capture the memories of your trip as well, so be sure to collect souvenirs, tickets, brochures, or anything else that will remind you of the adventure. Taking photos along the way is another great way to remember all the fun you had. Believe me, I tend to overdo it with the photos. And while they may complain at the moment, they sure to love seeing every single one of those photos for years to come.
Finally, we like to talk about what everyone liked and disliked about the trip and discuss any possible changes for future adventures. Sharing stories and reminiscing will bring out positive feelings and create happy memories that will last a lifetime.