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We are finally taking our first family road trip as a family of four!
We have traveled with my bonus daughter when she was a preschooler but never as young as our toddler is now. Our toddler does not like to be in the car, ever. Even the shortest trip to a store is unbearable for her. Part of the problem is that we always seem to fail to be prepared to be in the car with a toddler. Toddlers love to move around and explore their surroundings. Strapping a toddler down in a car seat with nothing to do is just setting you and your toddler up for failure. We decided to be prepared this road trip and share our tips to help you and your family to have a successful family road trip too!
Kids Can Get Car Sick
There is nothing worse than a child getting sick in the car. Both of our girls have gotten car sick at one time or another. It puts a damper on everyone in the car and the poor baby that has a bubbly tummy doesn’t feel like going anywhere at that point.
One of the things we do is put our girls in “play” clothes for the drive. It is important that you don’t put your child in an outfit that is meant to stay clean. Even if you child doesn’t get car sick, having “play” clothes will prevent food stains from ruining their outfit.
We also bring two sets of clothes plus the outfits that we want them to actually wear when we get to our destination. You can’t be over prepared when it comes to car sickness.
In addition to the clothes, we bring trash bags (for the icky clothes), a ton of wipes, vomit bags, ginger ale, Gatorade, water bottles, saltines crackers, personal fan, a vinyl table-cloth cut to size of the bottom of the car seat (saves cleaning the car seat a bit), and gallon sized bags to stop the stench in case you are in an area that you cannot dispose of the mess just yet.
Carsick Prevention Tips:
- Don’t feed your child greasy food or anything outside of what they normally eat.
- Having your child sip on Sprite or Ginger Ale will help their bubbly tummy.
- If your child does get sick do not have them drink a lot of fluid at once. Little sips are best.
- Have your child get out with an adult and walk around a bit to get some fresh air while the vehicle is being cleaned. This will prevent them from getting sick at the sight of their mess.
- Have a parent who doesn’t get sick easily clean up the mess (my DH can’t handle the sight or smell) to prevent an even bigger mess.
- Make sure there is plenty of airflow for all passengers. Stale air tends to make kids feel nauseous.
- Assure your child that it’s alright. It happens sometimes. Some children tend to feel bad or get embarrassed about what happened. It’s good to let them know that it’s ok and they will be fine.
- Avoid sudden stops and sudden take offs. Avoid high speeds on hilly roads. If possible, try to avoid placing your child over your back axle (like on a van). The seats over the back axle tend to make for a bumpy ride if the vehicle is not weighed down enough in the back.
- Proceed safely off the road to tend to your sick child. Make sure that you are far enough off the road if there is not an off ramp to take.
Are We There Yet?
The question that kids just can’t seem to stop asking. It doesn’t matter if you told them an hour ago or ten seconds ago. They are just going to keep asking until they reach their destination. There are a lot of ways to help your kids understand the concept of time without them asking you over and over again if you’re almost there.
Source: grey house harbor
I love grey house harbor’s visual destination aide. It shows the start, stops, and destination of the road trip. The vehicle moves along in time intervals that show when the next destination will be reached. I loved the use of a picture of the actual vehicle. This can definitely help young kids to understand when they will reach their destination by seeing a picture of their vehicle moving along.
We are going to use this idea to help our girls know when and where we are going until we reach our destination.
Road Trip Entertainment
It’s important to have a variety of different materials to keep kids entertained and happy.
Coloring books. We love Crayola’s Mess Free Coloring. What parent wouldn’t like mess free coloring especially when the artist is a toddler? Our walls in our home are thankful for mess free coloring. For our road trip we got a few new Disney themed ones for the girls to share and a couple Crayola Store-N-Go Studios to give a hard surface for them to draw on.
Toy Caddy. Have a caddy full of little imaginative play figures for your children to play with. Our toddler loves farm and zoo animals. We packed a caddy with enough toy animal figurines that we keep both girls entertained for a bit.
ABC Game. Do you remember the ABC road trip game as a kid? It’s still a family favorite to pass the time in the car. The rules of the game are pretty simple if you have never played before.
- Look for signs on the side of road or highway.
- Start with the letter “A”. You must find a word that begins with that letter on a sign. Then continue to the letter “B” and move on from there.
- You can work together as a team to complete the alphabet before reaching your destination or compete individually and the winner has the most words found.
Books. Bring a variety of books that are of interest to your children. We have board books with flip pages for our toddler, and we have early chapter books for our school-age daughter. Our toddler flips through books really fast but our school-age will read for 30 minutes at a time.
Check out 21 Family Road Trip Essentials for more ideas on how to plan your perfect family road trip.
How does your family prepare for a family road trip?