When you have kids the idea of traveling any distance can be overwhelming. Driving with your precious cargo may cause anxiety and worry if you aren't prepared for the undertaking.
With family 4 hours away the longer drives are not new for us. This week we went on vacation which required an 8 hour drive one way. I'm sharing some tips with you to survive a drive with kids.
When we lived in Virginia we regularly drove 6 hours to visit family & friends which means we've been making long distance drives with our kids for over 12 years now. Hopefully you'll find some of these tips useful! Please don't hesitate to share some of yours with me! We are always learning new ways to manage these kiddos in the car!
1) Don't have a time limit. If you need to be somewhere by a certain time, factor in at least 2 extra hours so you aren't rushed and adding more anxiety to an already potentially stressful situation. Time must always be on your side.
2) Pack snacks. You may think a couple of snacks per child is enough...but pack twice as many as you think you may need. If you hit traffic, snacks may mean the difference between survival and complete meltdown.
3) Bring a potty or urinal. Not kidding. We keep a hospital grade urinal in our car at all times. I use this on the daily for my 4 year old in car rider lines or waiting for dance classes to finish. The ability to jump out of the car and run to a potty is not always realistic. Having a portable option is essential to surviving a drive.
**If you're in the process of potty training, the option to slap on a pull up should not be overlooked. Explain to your potty trainer that its just to protect their carseat and help them not stress out about getting to the potty in time and if they have an "accident" it's "okay" during the ride. This takes the stress off both of you for the trip.
4) Baby wipes, paper towels, toilet paper & lysol wipes....keep them in your car at all times. An actual towel is always a good idea too. If someone decides their stomach isn't cooperating with the ride, you'll want a fast and easy way to clean up a puke mess and move on with the trip as unscathed as possible.
5) Extra clothes for everyone in the car. You just never know when a potty, puke or spill may occur and you'll want clean clothes for your arrival comfort.
6) Toys, hand held toys to include action figures, electronics, bouncy balls, whatever you may need to slowly entertain the kids. I keep a bag of small toys that are not always available at home to slowly pass out throughout the trip to distract them.
7) Movies. If you don't have an installed dvd player in your vehicle, the investment is priceless...get one! Have a variety of movies at your reach to keep the littlest ones entertained for the long drive.
8) Stay flexible. Know that you will have unexpected needs arise during the trip and just go with it. Be flexible and open to adjusting your trip as needed to make the drive as easy as possible
9) Plan a half way point stop. Find a playground, park, kid-friendly restaurant destination to stop and stretch legs, run off energy and break up the trip. I reserve this option for drive of 4 hours or more. Anything less, just push through and get there.
What other tips can you share for surviving a long drive with kids?