Traveling with Tots
With summer comes the allure of fun vacations, sweet family memories and the open road. For many of us though, getting to our final destination is not exactly an easy undertaking. Why? Because of the kids! Try these top six tips to make it easier to travel with youngsters.
Put them in charge. Kids love feeling like they have a job and play a significant part in the family. Mary Gordon, Overland Park, says, “If they are big enough, let them carry a backpack with their own stuff. It lightens your load, and they feel all important carrying a bag too.” Before leaving town, ask kids to pick out a few small toys to add to it as well. Having toys they personally choose means they will have something to look forward to playing with. It also means that they will feel more a part of the whole adventure!
Make media your friend. Gather DVDs, borrow a few new movies from the library or download some shows to a tablet for the road. Lots of choices keeps boredom to a minimum. Jorlyn Jones, Olathe, says, “All electronic rules go out the window for us when we’re traveling.” However you manage to prepare for the road ahead, remember that DVD players and tablets may prove to be your best road warrior buddies.
Raid the dollar store. The dollar section and dollar stores are parents’ best allies when planning a trip! Before leaving, stop by to grab a few inexpensive items to tuck away in your surprise bag. Throughout the trip, you’ll be able to hand new items back to squirmy kids to help keep them entertained.
Pack snacks. Convenience store snacks add up, and let’s face it, when a kid has reached “hangry” mode, there isn’t time to find a store. Before leaving town, load up on healthy snacks that will keep kids happy in the backseat. Try to avoid anything that melts, and accept that cracker crumbs probably will need to be vacuumed out of car seats when you return home. If you can find a few new snacks, the novelty will help as well!
Have a potty plan. Nobody is remotely entertained if an accident happens. Cut down on detours and frustration for kids and parents by packing a potty in the car. Lauren Heller, Overland Park, says, “If you’re traveling by car or by plane, it’s a must when toddlers are potty training. Ours folded into a nice compact bag, and we could use plastic grocery bags for liners.” If a kid needs to go, a quick stop on the side of the road means that kids stay dry, parents stay sane and the trip can continue in short order!
Go with the flow. Giving up the idea of the perfectly planned and executed vacation can be hard, but at the end of the day, that kind of mentality actually may cause you more stress than just being willing to go with the flow. “Lower your expectations,” Dana Compagnone, Leawood, advises as a twin mom. Kids travel differently than adults, and being willing to be flexible while road tripping will lead to a happier family and better memories in the end.
Rebecca Ishum lives with her husband, Sean, and their 6-year-old quadruplets in Belton. They make sure to pack as many DVDs, coloring books, small toys and snacks as their minivan can hold when traveling as a family!