Taking a road trip with babies or toddlers can be quite intimidating/overwhelming.
The first time we went on a road trip our kids were 6 months and 2. We drove 8 hours one day, stopped, and drove 5 the next day. We made the whole trip back in one day on the way home in around 11.5 hours.
I can only think of one time where I wished we had flown and that was in the last 30 minutes on the last day of a trip and it was bleak. We were in traffic and it was not a normal situation. Besides that low moment, I love taking road trips with our kids!
They both get car sick sometimes and I STILL love it! (take barf bags and Dramamine)
There are a few items to purchase that help, but mindset and prep will be the most helpful!
1. When you get in the car and drive away for the first time don't do anything you wouldn't do on a normal car ride. I like to put off the special stuff as long as possible. Sometimes we can make it a full hour before we have to have a fun car treat.
2. Have special toys/snacks, and keep them out of sight if possible.
3. When something comes out (snack/toy) something goes away. Keeps things clean and not overstimulating.
4. If all is calm don't change anything. I like to make things special and fun and sometimes I will interrupt a perfectly fine moment. If no one is screaming, or crying -- just leave them. Boredom is a great use of time.
5. Podcasts for kids! Research ahead of time and make a playlist.
6. Create a playlist of all songs your kids like! We love the Cars soundtrack and Parry Grip.
7. Map out safe places to stop and run around on the route. Sometimes everyone just needs out!
8. Wear easy shoes and remember where they go!
9. The Happy Song - Imogen Heap. You're welcome.
10. Have a good attitude. Even if it's fake! Set the tone. You are all locked into a metal cube for hours, don't make it toxic.
11. Bring a big water bottle to refill the little water bottles.
12. We put our potty-trained toddler in a pull-up, fewer stops for us. Potentially not what we are supposed to do, but let's be real. It's helpful.
How do you parent best? What will make you comfortable and at ease? I wear my favorite outfit and have a beverage I love. I'll have a podcast and an airpod ready.
You get car treats too! Drive through and get a coffee, buy a new book, and get your favorite snacks (that you don't share).
This is truly what changed my mind about long road trips. You get to sit and be with your kids and they won't move! I have very active kids, I rarely get to sit and be with them without a screen on. I try to appreciate how much I get to sit and not chase. Yes, there is turning and fetching from the backseat. But besides that, it is not an active day as a parent.
Play it only in the back if you get overwhelmed by certain music. If the smell of a snack will drive you insane, don't pack it.
Setting your environment up for how YOU will handle it best is key. You can do this! Your kids can do this! And if you hate it...you can always fly next time!
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