Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Six Helpful Tips to a Car Ride (with kids) of Bliss!

So we just got back from a weekend at Disney!  We're lucky because we can drive to Orlando in under 5 hours.  We don't have to deal with airports, checking/losing luggage, delays, packing enough carry-on items because what you've got is what you've got!....but we do have to deal with 2 young children stuck in the car for a looong ride!  {I'm not sure if I've ever specifically told you guys but, my kids, both boys, are 4 years old and 20 months old!}

As I mentioned a while ago, I always keep a bin full of things (small board books, action figures, coloring books/crayons) in the backseat for the kids to access while we're in the car.  But that bin just does NOT cut it on a long car ride, ie: when we're not just running errands around town!  I had to come up with something to keep them calm, cool and collected on our road trips.

Soooo, here are my....

(Catchy right?!  Well, it's a little misleading - you probably won't reach BLISS status but if your ride can be described as non-chaotic and slightly enjoyable,  then I've accomplished what I set out to do!)

  1. Patience!  This is a hard one for me - but you HAVE to have patience!  Of course they're whining and fighting and grouchy....they're bored!  They want to be outside running around, they want to be on the couch watching tv, they want to be playing with their friends...they do not want to be strapped in a car seat watching nothingness pass by as they spend hours and hours looking out the window.  So don't forget to pack your patience, pack extra patience....put it in the front seat so you know where it is and can grab it when you need it ;)  
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  2. DVD player(s) and DVDs!  I don't normally allow my kids to watch tv/movies in the car.  It's not necessary - which is why I opted out of the built-in tv units in the back of the front headrests.  We do, however, own a pair of portable DVD monitors.  (They're connected so both monitors have to play the same thing - which is fine).  It's great because I never put them up, except when we go on these long car rides.  It keeps them quiet - understandably so!  You can connect headphones if necessary, too.  I'm going to include iPads in this category too!  Let them play games, watch YouTube (appropriate videos, of course!) or just play around.                                                                                                                                                                                                                         
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  3.  Food!  Kids (and adults!) eat when they're hungry...and when they're bored!  Bring snacks, sandwiches, a cooler with yogurts/string cheese/fruit, water, "special" treats that you wouldn't normally let them eat (like candy or gum - if they're old enough!).  Don't tell them everything you have right at the top of the it out so they get something new when they least expect it!     
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  4. CDs!  You can get books, Disney stories, kids songs...all kinds of kid-friendly things are available on CDs.  I know ideally dad wants to be listening to sports or talk radio, and mom wants to jam out to Whitney Houston or Celine Dion (and sometimes the kids like that too, so run with that if you can!), but if it keeps them happy/quiet - throw on the Wheels on the Bus and make it a family sing-along!     
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  5. Little presents!  Ok, let me explain....I'm not talking a new bike here!  But if it's halfway through the trip and they need something to break it up, this will be a great surprise!  If they like, say the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (like my kids do!), buy a few of the Turtles - the little ones can't be more than like $5 - and wrap them up.  Kids LOVE to unwrap things!  It'll be something fun to do and then something fun to play with!  Other ideas are flashcards, coloring books/crayons, a new book to read, a new book on tape to listen to, something from the $1 bins at Target (LOVE LOVE those!)....the possibilities are endless!    
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  6. Don't think you'll make it all the way there without stopping!  Your trip will most likely include at least 1 rest-stop stop.  Especially if your kids are out of diapers and potty trained...little bladders = frequent potty breaks!  It's actually good for the whole family - you can get some snacks, use the restroom, let the kids run around to release some of the pent up energy, get's really a win-win for everyone!  So include in your estimated trip time about a half hour or so for this (or these!) stops!   
So, those are my tips!  These are the things that I use with my family when we go on long car rides - and they work!  I hope you find them useful.

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What is something that you do for your kids to make long car rides more enjoyable?  
Any tips/tricks to include?

I'll be back later with my WOD!


  1. These are quite useful to know actually! Lovely post!

    x leah symonne x

  2. I once drove a 3,4,and 6 year old from Indiana to Colorado by myself! I swear I had The Sandlot memorized by Nebraska...and I didn't need to bust out my surprise bags (Dollar Store Junk) until the way home :)