Road Trips with Kids Will Never Be Boring With These Tips
There is nothing more stressful for parents than their kid throwing a temper tantrum. Except perhaps a kid throwing a temper tantrum in the car in the middle of a family trip. Traveling on the road with kids can seem off-putting especially to new parents. What if the children get bored? What if the car breaks down? Don’t worry, we at Baby Care Weekly got you covered! With foresight and creativity, you can make the trip enjoyable and comfortable for everyone.
Follow these useful tips for a fun and safe road trip with your kids:
Prepare an Emergency Kit
Make sure to pack an emergency kit to bring with you during your trip. Even the most well-maintained cars can encounter unexpected problems on the road. During these mishaps, preparedness will prove to be your best ally.
Here is a list of essential things you should include in your emergency kit:
1.First Aid Kit – If you decide to buy a pre-made first aid kit from a pharmacy, double check to see what stuff you need to add such as special medication for any family member. You can also opt to pack your own first aid kit.
The American Red Cross suggests that first aid kits have the following basic emergency items:
▪Absorbent compress dressings
▪Adhesive bandages (various sizes)
▪Adhesive cloth tape
▪Antibiotic ointment packets
▪Antiseptic wipe packets
▪Instant cold compress
▪Hydrocortisone ointment packets
▪Sterile gauze pads
▪Thermometer (non-glass and non-mercury)
2.Emergency contacts – Keep a small directory of emergency contacts in your car in case you are unable to access your mobile phone. These contact numbers should include family members and local emergency response teams such as roadside assistance. Orient your kids about these numbers as well.
3.Spare battery and charger – Your phone should be fully charged when you go on trips with your family. Keep an extra battery and charger in the car in case your battery runs out.
4.Map – A paper map may seem out of place in today’s digital world but you’ll find it extra handy in case you encounter power problems or drive in an area with no reception.
5.Blanket – A blanket is a must-have if you are traveling during cold season. You’ll need one for keeping warm if the car breaks down. A space blanket is an even better option if you live in a country with very cold winters.
6.Non-perishable food and drinking water – Pack energy bars and bottled water in case you need to wait for emergency assistance in a rural area.
7.Flashlight with extra batteries – Flashlights are useful in case you need to make repairs on the road or go out of the vehicle at night. Make sure to have an extra pair of batteries on hand.
8.Water-proof gear – Umbrellas and raincoats will give you necessary protection from the rain in case you need to get out of your car.
9.Flare and whistle – These items will help you call the attention of rescuers or other passing cars in case you need help.
10.Portable fire extinguishers – Dry chemical extinguishers are suitable for putting out small fires only.
Ensure Your Car is in the Right Shape
Long drives can be tough on your car so make sure it is in the right condition for your family road trip. Schedule a check up to see if all parts and fluid levels are in working order.
Here is a short list of basic things to do prior to the road trip:
1.Check if the windshield washer fluid, brake fluid and coolant are in good quality and optimum levels. These fluids are the three most neglected car fluids but they are critical for efficient vehicle performance and safety.
2.Make sure all your tires (including your spare) have the right air pressure. The standard air pressure is indicated in the owner’s manual or on the body of the car.
3.Check if your engine oil needs changing. Engine oil lubricates your car and prevents overheating.
4.Ensure all signal lights are functional and replace bulbs that are no longer working. Consider bringing extra bulbs in case you’ll need to change any while on the road.
5.Make sure the air filter is in good working order or replace it if air is no longer flowing freely inside the car.
6.Clean your car. You and your family will be spending a considerable amount of time in the car so make sure it is clean inside and out. Consider buying durable car kick mats to keep your car clean and clutter-free.
Let Your Kids Plan the Itinerary With You
Road trips should be exciting for everyone especially the kids. Make your children look forward to the trip and the destination by letting them plan the itinerary with you. Browse the internet together so you can see photos and blog posts of the amazing sights you are about to see and make a list of attractions you want to drop by together.
Make Time for Stops
Kids usually become restless and cranky when cooped up in the car for a long time. Who can blame them though? Be sensitive and extra patient with your little one’s needs. Instead of rushing to arrive to your destination, consider dividing the trip into several stops and plan activities for each stop. Browse the internet to see what attractions and landmarks you will be driving by on the way to your destination.
Pack a Travel Activity Kit
Keep kids entertained during the trip by packing a travel activity kit that they can work on. Here are some ideas for fun activity kits you can prepare for the trip:
1.Book Lovers Kit – If your child is old enough to read, pack several books into a reading kit. Reading kits are great for passing the time plus they can let you introduce your little one to the wonders of reading.
Here are 10 kid-friendly books for kids 6 months and up that you can pack into this kit:
- Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (ages 6 months to 3 years)
- The Little Engine That could by Watty Piper (ages 3 years to 5 years)
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (ages 3 years to 6 years)
- The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (ages 3 years to 6 years)
- The Wind in the Willows (ages 6 years and up)
- Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol (ages 8 years to 12 years)
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (ages 8 years to 12 years)
- The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien (ages 8 years to 12 years)
- The Hunger Games (ages 12 years and up)
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (all ages)
2.Games Kit – Game kits are a fantastic idea if you are traveling with more than one child. Many classic board games like chess and Scrabble come in portable versions which make them convenient to play when traveling. You can also pack card games like Concentration/Memory, Uno and Go Fish! into this kit.
3.Arts and Crafts Kit – To get your hyperactive kids really busy and engaged, pack an arts and crafts kit for them. There are pre-made art kits available at toy shop and office supplies depot. You can also prepare one by gathering child-friendly supplies like the following:
- Modeling clay in different colors
- Sketch book
- Coloring book
- Washi tape in different patterns
- Felt paper in different colors
- Non-toxic glue
Play Games During the Trip
Aside from travel activity kits, there are many other fun and free ways to entertain kids during the trip. Play fun games during the car ride to keep everyone in a jolly and excited mood. Wrap small gifts to be given away as prizes to the winners, these can be small edible treats or toys.
Here are some free games you can play during the car ride:
- Take turns singing lyrics to random songs and let others guess the title or artist.
- Create weird meanings for the letters of license plates you pass by. For example, LTE could mean Lion That Explodes.
- Have a spelling bee.
- Make up a story by taking turns contributing a sentence each.
- Play charades.
- Play a general information quiz game.
- Take turns exchanging weird trivia.
- Play “Corrupt a Wish.” To play this, someone makes a wish and the person next to him/her grants that wish but ruins it. For example, the first person says “I wish I had 100 dollars.” The next person says, “Granted but it’s 100 dollars in monopoly money.”
- Cloud watch and share what things you imagine the clouds to be.
- Add the numbers of license plates of passing cars.
It’s true that traveling with kids can be challenging but the memories you make together during the trip will make everything worth it in the end.
Don’t sweat the small stuff! Here’s a short video of hilarious family moments on and off the road with the Eh Bee Family: