Every family with young children should read these tips before their next road trip in preparation for a well-deserved vacation.
I have two daughters under the age of four. They are both active and intelligent. I have learned that it is always better to be safe than sorry, especially if I plan to spend extended time in a vehicle as a family. Here are some tips to help make your trip as pleasant as possible for you and your children.
Prepare ahead of time
Days before the trip, make a list of the things that are absolutely necessary. This way there is less risk of forgetting something essential. First of all remember to bring medicine, then enough diapers and changes of clothes. Don’t forget your daughter’s favorite toy that she will miss five minutes after the trip begins.
Select music that the whole family enjoys and, above all, also children’s music. Take books; my daughters love looking at the full color pictures in children’s books and hearing the princess stories over and over again. If you are not at that stage yet, believe me the day will come. I already know how to distinguish between Rapunzel and Aurora and those moments can be of great value if we take the opportunity to talk with our children and unite the family.
You can bring their favorite games, but even those games can get boring. Remember that you can improvise card games, stick stickers on windows or notebooks, practice colors with passing cars, find letters in advertisements, and play riddles. You can make that trip a special time when you really give them your full attention and really play with them. Avoid toys that make too much noise. There is a risk that you will end up throwing that favorite toy out of the window after several hours, causing inconsolable crying.
Snacks and drinks
They will never hurt. Load sweet and salty food. Juices, water and milk. Don’t forget the lidded cups and the baby bottles.
Carry the necessary items so that your children calm down and after eating something and having fun they can rest and thus give the adults a rest as well.
My four year old is no longer wearing diapers and that means repeated emergency stops. Try to take advantage of each stop. Cool off, stretch your legs, and have your kids do it too. Buy drinks or more treats if necessary. Fill the car’s tank even if it is not yet empty to avoid future stops.
He has a little surprise hidden in the trunk: candy, a new book or a small toy. That will give you valuable extra minutes of peace of mind, but remember not to overuse the sugar: it makes them much more active.
In case of emergency
When you’ve tried everything; After having sung, played, eaten and napped, if the topic of conversation is already exhausted and if you still need one more distraction for your children, my secret weapon always includes taking advantage of modern technology. This is the time to get out your DVD player, iPad, laptop or cell phone. Watching a movie, playing electronic games, or showing photos stored on your cell phone will keep you busy for a while longer. Happy journey!