How to Travel with Kids ... and avoid yelling

Posted Saturday, June 02, 2012

From Emily of BusyChickadee

My family lives a little over 4 hours away and I like to go visit about every other month.  I recently decided to go and visit for almost a week. My husband couldn't take that much time off … so we left him at home.

That meant I needed to plan well to avoid…yelling! Grouchy mommies don’t make the best drivers, right? If I have happy kids I have a happy mommy.

Here are 8 tips and tricks I used to have a happy family drive:

I decided to pack a lunch to avoid having to get fast food, and to avoid having to PAY for fast food! That adds up quickly. I packed peanut butter sandwiches (no cooler needed), apples, and water bottles.  Packed in individual lunch sacks, means everyone has their own trash sack and trash stays where it should and not strewn across the floor of my car. 

I always pack a crate of some kind with small toys and lots of books. Yes, they will end up all over your vehicle because they will drop them after they grow tired of them! I figure this is a mess well worth keeping them occupied. Also, I make sure the container is close to the older ones so they can hand them out to the younger ones. When I was the only older one, I kept it close to me so that I could keep handing them back.

3. The POTTY - NEVER LEAVE HOME without IT!  
When my kids are potty training, I never travel without it. It makes it much easier to attend to “MOMMY, I have to go…NOW!” It is also easier when your kids don’t like public bathrooms. I stop the van and put the potty chair in the middle of the van. I let the child go and then I dump it outside when it is just pee. (Animals do it, right??) I bring along grocery sacks and dump it in there if it is…more substantial! (heehee) Then I throw it in the nearest trash. I wipe it out with wipes when they are done.

4. GO RUN!!
Kids are kind of like puppies…they like to run! When we do stop to go to the bathroom and there is open space, I yell, “Go RUN!!” I like to let them get out some of that energy. Sometimes I even chase them around or walk the stairs in the area around them to get out energy of my own. This helps us get back into the van with less tears.

I make sure to fill up a bag with snacks. You never know what is going to be that one thing that keeps everyone together. I like to pack things that can’t get too squashed into the carpet. I bring things like: pretzels, popcorn, Goldfish, dry cereal and maybe fruit snacks. I bring bowls or cups to put the snacks in to make it easier to hand them back. A friend of mine packs them in little baggies and I think that is a great idea too.

Bring along the children’s music. This can sometimes bring someone back from the brink of a meltdown. If you don’t have some, just start singing together. Songs like “Wheels on the Bus” and “5 Little Monkeys” are great ways to pass the time.

We finally broke down and bought the DVD player for the van. I was one of those people who said, “But I didn’t have one when I was little.” That lady left one day when I realized it would just make long trips easier.  If you haven't broken down and done it yet because you don't travel as much as we do, see if you can borrow one from a friend if you have a long ride coming up this summer. They really do make it easier.

As I was driving today and thinking about what I would write for this post, I thought about some things I would have done differently. I think next time I will make sure to pack some travel games like tic, tac, toe and car bingo.  The board game isle has travel games you can purchase and small electronic handheld games like battleship, 20Q or yahtzee that are inexpensive and great fun.  You can also look around pinterest and blogs for games you can make or print yourself.

Find Emily online at Facebook and Twitter, by visiting her blog - Raising Busy Chickadees and her Etsy Shop - Busy Chickadees:


fancy dress said...

Interesting article. I treat stretch goal as another management tool. Just like any other tool - it can be demotivating and harm managers/employees/organization if you do not know how to use it. The article is true if you have over-stretched goals. However, we are talking about stretch goal; which, to me, means realistic goals. It totally depends on the managers whether he/she is setting the goals for both manager and employee to succeed or fail.

kids shoes said...

It was good reading your post! I'll be looking forward on reading your other posts soon.. Thanks,,

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