Moms wear lots of hats. Driver, Chef, Entertainer, Nurse, Dry Cleaner, Maid. As moms we try our best to do our best at every single job. It’s totally impossible to be the best at one thing, much less everything yet we keep on trying day after day. One of the reasons I am so passionate about organizing is that helps me to prepare to juggle all my mom jobs.
Daily life as a mom is hard enough, when you take yourself and your kids out of your normal routine things can get a bit more unpredictable. A roadtrip with kids are one of these seriously unpredictable events. The more you organize and plan ahead the less craziness you can expect to encounter.
** My kids and I have done a LOT of road trips, sometimes with Dad, sometimes just by ourselves. Our longest is about 15 hours! **
Biggest part of road tripping with kids is keeping them entertained! You may want to buy a couple long-lasting entertainment items. Coloring books are a great option if your kids are a bit older. Just don’t leave the crayons in the car! Color Wonder sets are great for the under 4 crowd so you don’t get beautiful little masterpieces all over your car.
Sticker books are also a great option. My absolute favorite activity book are these from Melissa and Doug. They are removable stickers, which is awesome for cleanup too! They come in several different themes and are reasonably priced! These keep my kids busy for hours!
I’m usually not big on electronics but I do make an exception for road trips. Download a few new or old favorite movies and let the kids watch them when all else fails.
**Pro Tip – I use the Disney Movies App which allows me to download movies to an iPad for my kids. It does not require internet AND if you already own the digital version of the movie that usually comes with the physical copy these days you don’t have to pay for anything!
Don’t opt for toys with small parts, anything with noise or puzzles! Trust me on this one!!
Growing up my dad always had certain junk food that he brought on road trips. White cheddar popcorn. I can promise this is not a good idea for a road trip. It is messy and gets everywhere. It is also FULL of sugar. Totally not something you want to give your kids when you are going to be stuck with them in a car for hours!
Choose snacks your kids like, the less messy the better. Try to not go too far off from things they would normally eat at home. Changes to your kids diet can cause upset stomachs and no body wants that.
Avoid sugary drinks or anything with caffeine.
Pack a few different sets of clothes for the kids in an accessible place in the car. If a drink gets spilled or someone has an accident in the seat its much better to have clothes on hand instead of having to dig through the suitcase at a rest area.
Make sure the clothes they are wearing are comfortable. Nobody wants to sit in a car seat in jeans all day.
Pack a blanket and any special items that your kids sleep with in an area they can easily reach.
You never know where you are going to be able to stop on a road trip. You don’t have control of the cleanliness of the bathrooms or the availability of a changing table. Create an area in the car where you can do diaper changes if you need to.
** Pro Tip – IF you are I thinking of potty training but have a road trip coming up it MIGHT be best to wait. If you don’t want to wait it is still doable but BE PREPARED for accidents. We tried potty training with Little E right before a road trip once and it was a HUGE disaster. There’s really nothing you can do about a pee-pee accident in a car seat when you are 7 hours from your washing machine!
If your road trip is going to include a hotel stay think about packing an overnight bag that is separate from your full suitcase. From experience, its difficult to try to maneuver sleeping kids and full suitcases into a hotel at night.
I once traveled with my girls alone and trying to get them both into the hotel room with our bags at 11 at night was quite an adventure. I strapped one sleeping baby on me, tossed the other over my shoulder and thanked the good Lord that I only had one small bag to haul in with us.
Take Care of Your Trash!
You are going to have trash. Lots of it. Drinks, food wrappers, straw papers… Just make sure you take something to collect it all in. I use a plastic bucket from the Dollar Tree and put a grocery bag in it. That way I can just toss the bag each time we stop.
Pack your Grace
Even the best prepared plans will HAVE to be flexible because you are traveling with CHILDREN. You might have to stop 50 times, or have an vomiting incident or a screaming fit or two. Remember to be patient. Your kids are not trying to test you, and you are not being punished. No one likes to be trapped in a car for hours on end so just try to keep your cool!
Did I miss anything?
How does your family handle road trips??