Tips for Traveling With Young Children
There are so many rules about distracted driving these days. Don’t text, don’t call, don’t eat, don’t change the radio station. But the true distraction in driving is getting in the car with small children. Harrison is always asking me to “look at this” while I’m trying to keep my eyes on the road. He sometimes breaks out in tears because his car seat straps hurt. And a ride never goes by without him telling me he wants to get out. It doesn’t matter if we’re going to the grocery store, or taking a nine hour road trip, but that kid has never been good in the car. We have come a long way since he was an infant, where he cried constantly any time we put him in his car seat. This didn’t stop us from taking the car places. Out of necessity, we had to go places, near and far. I know lots of moms who have told me that they have avoided the road-trip situation altogether by staying in their home town until their children are old enough to make a long ride without sucking the sanity from their parents’ very souls.
Not Justin and Me. We’ve traveled with the kids since Harrison was three months old. I’m not telling you it was a good idea, but we have learned some tricks of the trade in our adventures. I thought I’d share some of our tips so that you don’t have to suffer as much as we did in the very early days.
- Bring headphones. Not for the kids. For you. If they’re screaming, it will drown out the noise. If they’re complaining about your music (which Harrison started doing at 18 months), they don’t have to listen to it.
- Bring snacks. The glove compartment in our vehicle is packed with treats. This is good in case someone is hungry, or if there is a zombie apocalypse. You’ll be all prepared to escape.
- Expect that you’ll have to stop before you planned. Even if everyone pees and has a fresh diaper, SOMEBODY is going to need to go to the bathroom at the next rest stop. That person is usually me, but that is beside the point.
- Leave the house right before nap time. That way, everyone will fall asleep once you hit the road. If they don’t, you can always resort to dramamine. This is one instance where it’s ok to give your children sleep inducing drugs, and no one will bat an eye.
- If you are not the driver, and you will not be driving, take some dramamine yourself. No one wants a carsick parent, after all. Even if you don’t get carsick, and have never been carsick, this is a good preventative measure, and within fifteen minutes, you will be out like a light.
- If it is at all possible, try to take two vehicles, so your partner can drive with the kids, and you can ride alone in peace. Justin is at the car dealership as we speak checking out a good deal on a Dodge Charger. I’m not kidding.
- Be sure that your destination has plenty of wine. When you get there, you’ll need a glass. Or three.