Monday, May 19, 2014
Getting ready to go again.
I read a blog post about traveling with children yesterday and it motivated me to write out my experience with long car rides and young children. I have plenty of experience in this. My oldest took his first road trip at 7 weeks old. And we have not stopped traveling yet. We are also about to embark on our adventure to go to Pennsylvania and I'm going to have to prepare my father (who is driving us) for the travel with very little ones, so this post will serve as a reminder to me as I prepare for our journey. My number one trip advice is that you any other passengers with a say in destination or arrival time need to absolutely be on the same page with your plan and understand that children do not understand things in future tense. They only know right now and the past few hours. Slow is the name of the game with children. Don't try to drive more than 8 hours in one day, or 2 hours without stopping. And when you stop think of the stop as an adventure rather than a hindrance to your adventure. Rest stops are great places to explore. Generally speaking no two gas stations or rest stops are exactly alike and children love to browse the store or look at the maps or wander on the side walk. If you allow them that small pleasure you will have less complaining in the back seat. Another thing I recommend is stopping to eat. Don't get fast food at the drive through. If you get out and enjoy your meal around a table, use the bathrooms, take your time don't rush. Everyone will travel happier and your bellies will thank you because you can order healthier food that way. Maybe even food that will digest better. Next pack a bag for each of your kids. Yeah you will have a bag of clothes but giving them each a bag or as I do a backpack, filled with goodies will encourage less boredom. My kids each have a travel bag that they only get for road trips. The bag is important. It's like presentation. ..a brown or paper bag just isn't as cool as a butterfly backpack or a backpack that has a monster on it. My kids are home schooled so they don't get school supplies that other students get, they picked out travel bags instead. What do you fill them with? Depends on the child. Some people recommend toys the kids only see in the car, others suggest that special lovey that your child sleeps with. I suggest a mixture. Last year I filled a small glass jar with rice and let the kids find small things like a toy car, some buttons, a silk flower, and other tiny objects to put inside then I sealed it and it became a game of find and seek. I bought a pack of pipe cleaners and split it between them. Put some flash cards and lacing cards in as well, then I let the kids add their lovey and a few hand sized toys. I also made then each a coloring book with crayons wrapped in velcro to secure them to the cover of the book which was full of blank note cards, this was such a hit! They also each own a magnadoodle which is always in the car. I want to add some fails in here too.. Don't give your kids playdough, gak, or anything like it... it does wash out but is a horrible mess in the car. Don't give a toddler with a pacifier one of those snack packs they can stuck out purree'd food from. .. Again big mess. And though tvs are great for travel dint let them watch movies more than they would at home, they get bored faster in front of the TV than if you save the movie as a last resort. Some people say traveling at night is best. I totally disagree. If it works for you go for it, but I find if I travel at night I spend most of the day getting ready then the night driving and the next day I am no good because I have not slept in forever. Instead we prepare the night before, get a good night's sleep, get everyone dressed and load the car while they eat breakfast and get on the road ASAP. Then as long as we stop for an adventure at a gas station or rest stop every two hours to stretch our legs the trip goes very nicely. And I don't have to feel guilty about the horrible angle my poor children's heads fall in when they are sleeping in the car. Enjoy the journey!