We’ve done the road trip thing a couple times now. By no means are we experts, but we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help us survive. In fact, we have a 14 hour road trip scheduled this summer. With 4 kids. Good times, good times (at least that’s what we keep telling ourselves!) I’m thinking it might be useful to tell you how to save your sanity on a road trip with kids.
So, without further ado…
7 sanity saving tips for a road trip with kids.
Have a lot of snacks in a large variety. Snacks that you don’t typically let them eat. Snacks that can change the tone of the ride. Fruit snacks, lollipops, gum, goldfish, jelly beans, whatever their favorite treats are. Get them! When things go south quickly, a favorite treat can save the day. Don’t forget to also have protein snacks too so they stick with them for a bit. Of course, you can add some healthy snacks, too.
New games, new sticker pads, new marker books, new coloring books, new reading books. Activities surrounding your destination (Disney princess books for a Disney trip, a book about a new state you will be traveling to). Anything age appropriate that will keep them entertained and intrigued but doesn’t have to be plugged in or make noise. Sometimes the kids need an activity that won’t keep their siblings awake. And sometimes, the quiet is just nice. Sometimes we also like to ask trivia questions.
3. Tablet (and chargers)
With 4 kids in at least 2 different age ranges, the electronic entertainment aspect is a bit of a challenge. The younger two are happy to watch a movie on our van’s DVD player, but the older two usually want shows that fit into the tween category.
If my kids will sit and watch a movie or a show and not ask no less than eleventy-billion times “are we there yet?” then it’s totally worth it. Between digital copies of movies and the ability to download apps you will be ready hit the road.
Pro tip: Make sure you have a nice set of headphones for each kid! There is nothing like the noise level of four different recorded shows playing at the same time!
BuddyPhones headphones are volume-limiting kids headphones that protect young listeners ears by providing them with the safest, toughest headphones and they’re available in some of the most popular colors and designs, such as Pink Unicorns! Think about it: happy kids and parents who don’t have to listen to the same movies or shows over and over again.
The BuddyPhones PLAY is parents’ top choice due to its wireless connection and kid-proof durability. Both parents and kids are especially fans of the 14+ hour battery life and four distinct SafeAudio listening modes for every listener and occasion: Travel, Study, Kid, and Toddler.
4. Travel Friends, Blankets or Lovies
Don’t leave home without them. Don’t let the kiddos go overboard. We let the kids pick one small friend (stuffed animal) and one small blanket. It made them more comfortable in the car. For the youngest, we have a handful of pacifiers and her lovies because when toddlers get fussy, they throw stuff! And when she calms down, I want to be able to hand her another one.
5. No sit down meals
The last thing you want to make them do after sitting in the car for a couple hours is sit down. And, then expect them to behave? I mean I do expect them to behave and I know they will, but they’ve been in the car. They want to run and stretch their legs. Yes, we’ve been that family that stops at the golden arches only to use the restroom and let them play and then grab just a small snack. We then eat that snack and anything else we’ve packed (if it’s meal time) in the car. After #1 (snacks), they usually aren’t very hungry anyways.
6. No big drinks
Yes, they can have drinks. But, they are rationed. With four kids, it’s almost guaranteed that one will need to pee while the others are asleep. So, we try to limit the pee stops as much as possible. Of course, we don’t want they dehydrated, either.
7. Car Maintenance
This one is from Mr. Serious. Get the oil changed. Get the car in for an over all check up. Check and rotate the tires. Just make sure everything is in good working order. Nobody wants to be stranded on the side of the road because of something you could have caught at home. Just a little added insurance! (And, if you do a really long trip, get everything checked once you arrive at your destination, too.)
Hopefully, these tips will help keep you and your kiddos relatively sane in the car.