This past weekend we took our first road trip with the Tiny Dancer who is a few days shy of 14 months. It went pretty smoothly – I tend to be the kind of person that stresses about things so much that I come up with just about every possible horrible scenario – and I try to be prepared for it. I thought I’d save you the headache. Here are some tips for taking a stress free road trip with young children.
1. Sleep - Try to leave at a time when the kids will sleep the most. For example, get up earlier than usual and get an early start and let the kids sleep in the car. Or, skip a nap so the kids will be tired and sleep in the car. Once they are asleep take advantage and go – go – go! Try to time your stops around the kid’s needs – not yours.
2. Stops – The days of stepping on the gas and making as few stops as possible for as little time as possible are over. Follow your kid’s cues and stop when they need to. You may stop more frequently and the stops may take a little more time but you need to give the little ones some time to adjust and stretch out a little bit.
3. Snacks/Meals – We take the 5 down to LA and the only food options along the way are of the fast variety. If you are trying to keep it healthy it’s pretty impossible to find a healthy option on the road – so bring your own! I packed a cooler and brought the Tiny Dancer’s organic milk, organic yogurt, fresh fruit and other snacks on the go (check out my previous post for more options).
4. Entertainment - If there was ever a time to have your bag of tricks with you, this would be a good one. Bring the kid’s favorite toys and books and bring them along for the ride. If your child is a fan of certain music – or if music has a soothing effect, make sure to have that with you as well.
5. Sun/Shade – No matter how strong the AC is pumping in the car, if the sun is coming in through the window it can get hot – and you could burn! Make sure that the baby has sunscreen on and those shades that you stick to the backseat door windows will come in handy to keep the sun off of your precious cargo.
I hope these tips help and I wish you happy, safe travels!