By: Sarah Meikle/
Traveling long distance with little ones can be exhausting!
I want to share some tips that helped me recently, while taking a 2-day road trip to Colorado. One of the most important things was to make sure we were not eating fast food the whole time and the kids weren’t entertained by a screen the entire trip.
First things first, FOOD! We know how children can be when they are hungry, so I made sure we packed a variety of snacks. For breakfast it was banana muffins, strawberries and yogurt pouches. I love the pouches because it is less mess. I also surprised the kids with their favorite cartoon character sectioned plates and lap trays for eating and coloring which helped a lot and avoided spills. For lunches we had sandwiches, chips, grapes and carrots. I also offered snacks in between meals like granola bars or raisins. At night we stopped for dinner, we thought this would be a nice break from driving. Having a 2 year old and a five year old we tried to limit the amount of “unnecessary” liquids but juice boxes worked the best in my opinion, as they are usually smaller amounts and harder to spill!
We stopped every 3 -4 hours for bathroom breaks. While walking to the restroom we tried to do something fun like crazy stretches or lunges as we walked. It was a great way to quickly burn some energy. I also loved showing the kids the maps in the rest stops of where we were and how far we had traveled. It was a great visual for them.
So here is the entertainment piece. How do you keep the kids from going stir crazy on a 17+ hour road trip? Well, this one I put a lot of thought into. For weeks I thought about things my kids were into that would be convenient for travel in the vehicle. I purchased some new coloring books with jumbo crayons (they were harder to break and lose). I also purchased some little toys from the dollar tree and to keep the minds fueled, I printed off dotted name sheets for my preschooler to practice writing his name. For my 2 year old, I brought along large buttons and pipe cleaners for her to work on her fine motor skills. Something new was introduced each time I thought they were getting fidgety. As a treat we played a movie on the tablet. Between all this and naps our first major road trip was a great success! When traveling with young kids do not have unrealistic ideas, know there maybe hiccups along the road. Be flexible and try to remember that it’s the journey and not just the destination!
Sarah Meikle is a Parent Liaison for Lenawee Great Start. She was raised in Adrian where she attended Madison Schools. She now resides in Tecumseh with her husband Andrew and two children, Camden and Kaylee.