Warmer weather is finally upon us- Do you know what this means? More travel, more fun, and more….cranky children who never stop asking, “Mooom, I’m bored. Dad, are we there yet?” Yeah, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
This guide isn’t meant to shame any parents who choose to give their kids a tablet, it’s here to give you ideas if the tablet fails, or if you’re like me, you forget to charge the tablet and it is therefore useless on the trip. This has happened more times than I can count sadly enough. All the times I thought we were shit out of luck, we were able to adapt and figure out other successful ways to keep our littles busy. I’ve got your back. 😉
-Utilize the need for sleep.
This one is probably the most important of them all. Try to make sure your trips fall in line with the kids’ nap times. If you have bigger kids, this may not work. Or it may, I don’t know. I’m of the firm belief that everyone should love sleep. I try to delay any naps until we get on the road, so I’m able to get an hour or two of sweet silence to ‘reset’ like I do at home. You have no idea how much I look forward to nap time, some days.
-Snacks! And lots of them.
On normal trips to the store or going home after picking the kids up from school, I normally don’t give the kids any kind of food because I can’t really keep an eye on them. But on these long trips, be prepared to have lots of snacks that are the perfect size that kids won’t choke on, like cheerios. Also be prepared to have a designated ‘snack bitch.’ Usually this is able to work perfectly if you’re traveling with a partner, but if you’re traveling without another adult this may prove to be difficult, and I’d avoid against the snacks, especially if you still have rear facing children.
-An endless playlist of groovy tunes.
Make a playlist with road trip classics and must haves the whole family will enjoy. Here’s some examples of what musical groups are in mine: Queen? Check. Disney hits? Check. Backstreet Boys? Oh yeah. Definitely check. Trust me, the ride will go so much smoother and faster if you all have music you can sing along to, and nobody likes a quiet car ride where no one talks.
-Car games that make you go “huh??”
Okay, not everyone makes that sound when they’re thinking or confused. But the point is, find something to do that reeeaally makes you think. The kids might love a good game of I Spy when you’re traveling, but that may get boring. Invest in a little book of riddles or short stories to read aloud! One of our favorites are Mid Libs (I know, so old school!). I also remember on one of our road trips in the past, my husband (who was in the Army at the time) made me guess what every letter of the phonetic alphabet stood for. That honestly took about 2 hours for us to go through every letter because I was not familiar with the phonetic alphabet at all. That one can especially be fun if you have a preschooler who is learning to be more familiar with the alphabet, like us!
-Indulge in your kid’s hobbies
A big bag of assorted toys is obviously a must have, of course. But make sure you bring some toys that have currently piqued your children’s interest. Greyson is young enough that he will play with literally anything that makes noise. I’ve had to toss him an empty water bottle in times there was nothing to do, and it kept him busy for a bit.
Sterling however, is a little harder to keep busy. That boy is so stinking smart and his mind runs a million miles a minute, so he has to have something to do all the time. His latest obsession are rocks. He seriously stuffs them into his pockets at any chance he can get, and they end up all over the place. So one day, we’re exploring all the cool items this little traveler’s oasis sells and what do we find? A whole bunch of polished and pretty colorful rocks. Sterling just about lost his mind! You could fill a small bag for only $7, and it kept him busy for half the trip. Those are now our special road trip rocks and they’re only allowed to be kept in the car.
I hope these tips helped! We have so many more trips coming up this summer, so we’re probably going to use all of them in one car ride, haha. Leave a comment here or on Instagram if these tips helped pass time in the car, or if you have any other ideas this mama can use!