When I think of road trips, I picture sunshine, music, and blissful conversation. Truth be told, road trips are actually full of whining, crying, and incessant nagging…..usually from the kids AND me! With Spring Break right around the corner, lots of people will be hitting the road for a little getaway. I’ve learned a few tricks over the last couple of years to minimize my stress on the road and keep my family a bit happier.
There is nothing like cranking up the music and having a good, old fashioned family sing-a-long. We do this a lot, but before we head out of town, I hit up the local library and check out some new CDs for us to enjoy. Even if it’s the same songs that we are used to, a new version keeps the kids interested a lot longer.
2. Audio books
While you are at the library, grab a couple books on CD (or tape) for the ride. There is a wide variety from smaller picture books, to chapter books that your family can enjoy. It’s a great alternative to watching a DVD because the kids can close their eyes and imagine the characters and story taking place as they listen.
3. Quiet time activities
This category looks different for all age groups, but it’s the same concept. I try to pack a bag (usually a backpack) for each of my girls that is full of toys that they can play with on their own. Need some ideas? Magnets and a cookie sheet, notebook with colored pencils or crayons, search and find books, toy figurines, binoculars, stickers, pipe cleaners.
We all get cranky when we get hungry, so be prepared with easy-to-go snacks. Food that doesn’t haven’t to be kept cold is my favorite, so I often pack apples, bananas, dried fruit, pistachios, popcorn, peanut butter crackers, and other similar things to munch on. And to save money, I don’t buy the snacks prepackaged. Bring along a large cup or bowl for each kid that you can easily refill when needed.
My girls LOVE telling jokes. They aren’t quite at the age where they can successfully make up any that make sense, but that’s half the fun! I like to memorize or print out a few new ones that I can pull out along the drive when we hit a rough spot. It changes our attitudes and gets us all giggling again.
6. Be prepared
This tip can cover a multitude of things. Have kids that are potty training? Be prepared and know of a couple towns you can have a potty break along the way. Or pack a travel potty! Be prepared with your snacks and arsenal of mom tools near you, instead of in the trunk underneath all of the sleeping bags. Be prepared and know that the trip will most likely not be completely smooth sailing, but enjoy the time of family bonding anyways!