If you are ever in a situation where you have to travel a long distance by yourself with your kids, you will probably feel overwhelmed. You + kids + stuck in a car/plane for hours does not sounds like fun, BUT you can actually survive with a few tips and tricks. I just returned from a trip where I drove 28 hours over 4 days with my 5 ½ year old son by myself, and I am still alive to write about it. Here is what I learned.
1. Be Prepared
Think about everything your kid could possibly want during the drive and put it all within his reach. Make sure you have snacks close by, a water bottle, pillow, blanket, and favorite stuffed animal (maybe to encourage a nap). The easier it is for your kid to reach it, the easier it will be for you to concentrate on the road. Also, don’t forget about an extra set of clothes, just in case there is an accident.
Electronic devices will save your life while traveling. There are only so many times you can listen to the Trolls soundtrack before you want to stay down and not “get back up again.” A DVD player and a stack of movies give you at least an hour and a half of quiet. There are also educational electronic devices that you can use. Any kind of game will keep your kid entertained for a while.
3. Activity Books
Coloring books, activity books, a blank notebook for writing notes/scribbles are a must. Keep markers or crayons in a baggie and you are set. You can ask him draw you pictures or draw pictures for people you are going to visit. On the way home, you can ask him to draw his favorite activity he did on the trip.
There will come a time where your kid does not want to color, watch a movie, or eat (shocking!), so do have a list of car games. These can also be played in the airport.
-Read city/town names and practice saying them aloud. Imagine you are traveling there. What would you do?
-Play I Spy With My Little Eye
-Go through the alphabet and find a word on signs that start with each letter.
-Look for different state license plates.
-Make a list of all the traffic signs you can think of and mark them off as you find them.
-Play Would you ever eat…? My son loves this game and he comes up with some pretty interesting things. It’s silly and allows your kid to use his imagination.
A trip with kids does not have to be scary. It should be fun and exciting, where you as a parent can enjoy the ride instead of worrying if your kid is entertained or not. With a little planning ahead, your trip can be everything you hoped it would be and more!