A family of four took an 8.5-hour road trip with not only their 2-year-old twins, but also a 1-year-old golden retriever. How did they do it? Take a look at the following tips.
Never Forget, Safety First
Just because the children are going to sit in the car for a long time, there is no reason for safety to be a sacrifice. Always keep the kids strapped into their car seats and if they get uncomfortable, take a pit stop so they can stretch out. Never let the kids free in the car whether you are driving for five minutes or nine hours. The same goes for mom and dad!
Feed the Toddlers Breakfast
No matter the time you back down the driveway and take off from the house, you should always feed the kids a small breakfast beforehand. This will not only cut down on the number of snacks you give your child during the road trip, but it will start their day off on a normal routine, despite the fact it could be as early as 4 a.m.
Feed the kids something light and healthy with substantial nutritional value that will help curb hunger throughout the day. But remember, the 2-year-olds are not yet potty trained and you will want to get a good chunk of mileage in before you have to take the first stop. Try mashed blueberries over oatmeal, or a scrambled egg with chopped spinach and a sprinkle of cheddar cheese.
Bring Lots of Snacks
Bring snacks not only for the kiddos, but for yourself. No one wants to be hungry and irritable on a long road trip with toddlers and a dog. Choose items that have minimal crumble factor. This family suggests swapping the Ritz crackers for Wheat Thins and packing favorites such as raisins and Goldfish.
In addition, be sure to pack sippy cups and back-up water bottles. A lot of times when children beg for a snack, they are just bored and want something to do. Staying hydrated cuts down on a lot of unnecessary snacking.
Plan for a Bunch of Stops
If you need to be at the final destination at a specific time, you must plan on at least a one-hour delay. You never know when accidents may happen on the road or temper tantrums may keep you from plowing through to the finish line. The family of four took around four stops total which tagged on about an hour and half.
Change Diapers in the Car
Baby changing tables — usually found with a cute koala on them — in public restrooms are installed there for your convenience. However, the germs and fecal matter left on them have the potential to be the most dangerous part of the road trip. Use public changing tables if completely necessary, and be sure to sanitize them and place the child on your own changing mat.
Believe it or not, it is usually less of a hassle to change your children in the back of your car. You can avoid long bathroom lines and a lot of the germs in this manner. Set up a changing area beforehand for a timely diaper change.
Skip Out on Tons of Movies
Movies and television shows may seem like great car ride entertainment, but they should be limited. This family found that, at times, Moana and Elsa provided a great distraction when they were interested in them, but when the twins were exhausted they wouldn’t sleep with the movies in the background, making everything worse.
Hint: Try to plan movie time after a lunch break to get the kids excited to get back into the car.
Bring Entertaining New and Comfort Toys
It is wise to pack a variety of toys when you finally get to the destination; however, when in the car limit the amount of toys the children have access to. You should include their favorite blanket or stuffed animal at all times for comfort, but also stock them up with a new book to keep them amused every so often.
Spend Lunch Outside
On this trip, the family had no choice but to stay outside during their lunch stop due to their young and spry golden retriever, but it also gave the whole group a chance to get some fresh air and stretch their legs. Unfortunately, the highway only offers a small amount of food choices, and depending on where you are, it is typically fast food. Be sure to ask for a kid’s menu!. You can usually swap an unhealthy side for applesauce or fruit.
Plan Around Your Schedule
Just because you are in a car going 70 mph on a highway, doesn’t mean all of your daily routines fly out the window. Try to keep lunch, nap time and playtime around the usual schedule whenever possible. This will help with the transition when you finally get to where you are going and the children are in a new environment.
Know All Things Probably Won’t Go as Planned
If you were surprised the golden retriever didn’t cause any commotion during the trip, you thought wrong. The pup got car sick and vomited in the back of the car, which led to extra time and damage control.
Always remember, some of the most unexpected events could happen on any road trip and it is best to buckle up!
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