A road trip may seem like a daunting task for parents with young children. Hours of confinement sounds like a recipe for a few backseat fights and a fair share of tears shed. But luckily, it doesn’t have to be that way! No matter if you’re embarking on a cross country adventure or just taking a day trip to Grandma’s, with a little preparation, you and your family can be on the road to having a fun, relaxing trip.
Trying to fit everything in the car can feel like one giant game of Tetris. Once the trunk is filled, the back seat starts to fill, and no kid wants to be squished between suitcases. The trip will be a lot easier on everyone if you pack the carto where everyone has plenty of room to stretch their legs. Start by clearing the car of clutter before you even begin packing; begin with a clean slate. Put the largest bags in first and fill spaces with smaller ones. If there’s simply not enough space, consider expanding storage options with an overhead carrier.
Limit fast food.
While it may be easy to stop in a drive-thru for meals on the road, a lot of greasy foods can upset kids stomachs and make everyone cranky or lethargic. Prepare some meals ahead of time and look for rest areas along your route. Sandwiches with fruit and chips are a great healthy alternative that will satisfy hunger without leaving you feeling gross. Picnicking will allow everyone to get out, breathe some fresh air, and stretch their legs. Some rest areas even have little playgrounds where kids can spend some of that pent up energy before they get back in the car.
Prepare for carsickness.
Kids who struggle with motion sickness can be a significant road trip challenge. Thankfully, there are some ways to prevent car sickness before it hits.● Stick to bland meals before leaving; spices can worsen an upset stomach ● Give your child soothing foods like peppermint or ginger to snack on● Avoid video games or reading● Crack open a window for fresh air circulation● Apply pressure to their wrists; this pressure point is known for helping with nausea ● Consider motion sickness medication, such as Dramamine
Even if you take these precautions, it’s probably a good idea to bring a bucket or bag just in case.
Plan fun stops along the way.
Half the fun of the road trip is just getting to your destination. Take the road less traveled, and plan fun stops along the way to see things like the World’s Largest Peanut or the Biggest Ball of Yarn. These don’t take too much time but make for great photos and memorable laughs.
Make a list of car-friendly games to play.
Bags of toys and video games can just add to the mass of clutter in a car. Letting your child bring personal items also presents the risk that they’ll leave the item behind somewhere, which can be a real fiasco. Opt for classic car games like I Spy, Would You Rather, 20 Questions, or the Alphabet Game, which don’t require anything but the people playing.
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