When you’re planning a family road trip, you have starry-eyed visions of your children being mesmerized by the scenery outside their windows and having special moments of togetherness. While most of the trip might be what dreams are made of, you will inevitably have times when your children are less than thrilled to be riding around in a car, a foot away from their siblings.
Here are some ways to keep your sanity while you’re all trapped in a vehicle for hours at a time.
Plan rest stops
If you know that your children are going to need a break every few hours to stretch their legs, then plan accordingly. There are tons of beautiful rest areas in each state that not only give your family a chance to go to the bathroom and move around, but they usually have state-specific memorabilia and brochures.
Use baskets to corral kids’ stuff
It’s normal for children to want to bring comfort and entertainment items with them when they will be away from home. But when each child has seven stuffed animals, their favorite books and an electronic device, it can cause a problem, especially when you try to exit the vehicle at a rest stop. Try buying a cheap basket at the dollar store for each child to keep their belongings. It will help you keep things neat, and they’ll like having their own space.
Pack real food
While dining on burgers and fries is fun for the first day or two, the heavy cuisine can become tiresome and fattening. To avoid eating fast food at every meal, pack an insulated bag or cooler with healthy snacks like whole fruits, cheese sticks and water bottles.
Keep your cool
Don’t expect the trip to go perfectly. Your kids are still kids and a change in their routine, long hours in the car and being in unfamiliar places might affect their mood and behavior. So, if there’s more fighting in the backseat then you’d like, or your child complains about where you’re eating dinner, take a deep breath and remember that even these less-than perfect moments will create memories that will last a lifetime.
Jessa is the Editor-in-Chief of Hooray for Family and the mom of three energetic children. She has a BA in Mass Communication/Journalism from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, and is a long-time resident of Central Texas. When she isn't writing and editing, she enjoys playing board games with her kids, teaching Sunday school and channeling her creativity into craft projects.