Traveling On a Road Trip With Preschoolers

Children who are not in school yet can present a challenge to you if you’re taking them on a road trip to another destination. Here are some things you can do to make the ride go more smoothly for all of you, so you can reach your destination happily.

Pack mini-kits of things to do before you get started on your trip. Each kit should contain supplies to do one activity. For instance, one kit can have a coloring book and crayons. Other kits may contain a small game, colored paper and/or string for making masks. A kit should last for about an hour or so. This way you aren’t scrambling for ideas about what to do–you have those things in place already.

2. Take enough snacks. Children love to snack on trips. Again, the key here is preparation. Prepare snacks that are not messy, and that children can eat easily on their own. Bring juice boxes or tiny bottles of water that they can easily drink from. You might consider putting each snack in a bag so that you can just pass a bag back to them instead of opening multiple containers and moving things around while you’re in the car.

3. Bring a lot of CDs for the trip. Children love music, and they love music that is “their” music. Bring favorites along and sing as loudly as you can in the car. Rotate the CDs so you aren’t listening to the same song over and over; compromise with your children about the order in which that you listen to the CDs.

4. If you are not driving, read to your child. You are likely read to them at home, why not read everywhere else as well? Children love being read to, and since you are actively engaged with them they are less likely to want to wander about or start doing something you don’t want them to do.

5. Be patient. This may seem obvious, but many parents start out with the intention of being patient, but after about an hour they become frustrated. Think of the experience from the point of view of your children. They are small, may not be able to see very well outside of the car, and have no concept of how long the trip will take. They are not as mature as you are, so they are less patient about how long a trip can take. It is your job as the parent to set the atmosphere for the trip, so make a concerted effort to take a deep breath and keep things calm. What you do will affect everyone else, so try your best to present a calm, happy attitude. It will rub off.

As you can tell, the key to all of these tips is preparation. It’s important to use all the tips laid out here to get yourself prepared to go on a trip with your children. If you follow these tips, you will feel more relaxed on the trip, and your children will stay occupied until you reach your destination.

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