Road Trips With Kids – What Works and What Doesn’t

I never wondered will our kids enjoy driving in the car. It was a necessity.  Driving. Not enjoyment. We had family to visit and the two of us just can’t stay put and wait till they grow up. I did go to all sorts of effort to make the road trips with kids fun. For them. But it was work for me and most of the time not worth it. To save you the trouble, I am sharing what actually works and what you can easily skip.

road trips with kids

Food

A firm yes. Food is worth the mess you’ll have to deal with upon arrival.

Our kids get hungry when we turn on the ignition.

I’d compare it to Pavlov’s dogs, but it would make me sound like a bad Mum.

But here comes a disclaimer: pick food that doesn’t leave stains. Our personal favorites are: apples, biscuits, bread.

Absolutely never ever chocolate!

Coloring book and pencils

No. Too much trouble for only a few minutes of peace.

I’d pack a whole bag of pencils and we’d come home with only a couple. Like the pair of socks that go their separate mysterious ways once you take them out of the washing machine. Pencils get lost, they drop, I have to turn around and search for them…

I only bring one pencil for each and just sheets of white paper which gives them more options.

Toys

Neither yes nor a resolute no. I am still not convinced. Like coloring pencils, I’d say one and then they can swap when they get bored.

Drinks

Yes. But only water and I get to keep it with me. They drink when we it’s convenient, we are driving on the highway or have stopped at the red light.  I don’t let go og the bottle.

Tablets

Absolutely. The best invention ever. Kids watch cartoons, play games and take photos or videos with it.

Should however comes with a time limit. Too much and they get weird.

Sleep

Yes, please. How? Our kids are used to their midday nap, especially the younger one.

If we are driving for a longer period of time, we take a break around noon, get the kids out of the car, have them run around and then they magically dose off when we continue. Usually. Even with the best intentions, it sometimes doesn’t work.

When the kids were babies, we headed off during the night and they’d sleep almost the entire time.

Road in France
Singing

Yes, if the kids know at least one song in full, not just the chorus. It’s even better if they know a few. Otherwise it’s worse than the two of them asking: “Are we there yet?” If that happens we turn on the music on the radio a little louder.

games

Yes. We love to play I spy, though the youngest has no clue about the letters yet and she might say: “I spy something beginning with the letter T.” We wreck our brains trying to name everything starting with a T, and then she says: “No, it’s a car.”

Looking out the window

Yes. I don’t know how it happened, but I notice the girls being quiet and looking out more and more often. Every now and then they break the silence to point out interesting things they notice and then they just continue looking. No toys, tablets, games, nothing.

Audio books

Yes. They love to listen to fairy-tales on the radio. We have a couple of CDs and despite having heard them a gazillion times, it never gets old. They very often fall asleep listening to them – an excellent perk for enduring it yet again.

Mangart Road
Pitstops

A must. Every few hours we take a break. If it’s a short ride, we might only stop to stretch our legs at the gas station.

We try to find gas stations which also have a playground.

If it’s a longer ride, then we plan some sightseeing along the way. And if you are headed down from Zagreb to Split – a road we travel very often – here are our favorite pitstops.

Pillows and blankets

Yes. Blankets only on longer road trips with kids but the pillows always.

Hint, hint: pillows make falling asleep much easier.

something they pick

Always. Now a days we let them pack a bag pack on their own and they can take a few toys and books of their own choice, but they are fully in charge of it.

There you have it. Have a safe trip.

 

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