Below are seven parent-to-parent tips that will help you maintain your sanity when traveling with kids in the car this summer. A big thank you to Subway for sponsoring today’s post.
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You’re sitting in the front seat of the car fuming through the uncomfortable silence. One of the kids starts to whimper in the back because you’ve just lost it and yelled at the whole lot of them. Your heart melts, and shame colors your cheeks as you realize your outburst was an overreaction. You stare out the car window. You’ve been planning this road trip for what feels like months, yet it feels like everything is falling apart in the car before you’ve even arrived.
It happens to the best of us; you’re not alone. Being on the road for long distances is challenging for children and parents alike. Below are seven tried-and-true tips that will stop chaos and bickering (and will help you maintain your sanity) when traveling with kids in the car this summer.
1 | Keep the troops well fed.
People get cranky when they’re hungry–real cranky. Keep backseat bickering under control by ensuring your children are well fed. When you’re on the road, it might be tempting to go to a drive-thru. Don’t miss this opportunity to let your kids get some fresh air and stretch their legs.
Jump back into the car knowing everyone is happy and refreshed. Ensuring you don’t have any grumbling tummies in the back seat is a basic (yet often overlooked) way to ensure smooth travels.
2 | Listen to family-friendly audiobooks.
Screen time is not the only solution for stopping squabbling and declarations of boredom. Consider getting an audiobook from your local library or Audible. The audiobook you choose doesn’t have to be “just for the kids.” Many wonderful tales are sure to engage the whole family, including you. Check out this list of recommendations: 15 must-listen-to titles and great road trip audiobooks for kids 7-and-up.
3 | STOP when you see water.
There is truly something therapeutic and refreshing about water. If you pass a shoreline or a park near a lake, pull over! Set a timer on your phone and say, “We’ve got 8-minutes to enjoy this awesomeness. Let’s go!” The unexpected and sudden adventure is sure to revive your kids’ attitudes.
4 | Bring a ball.
Utilize all that lovely green space at rest stops as an opportunity to get wiggles out. Who needs a playground? Bring a baseball and gloves, kickball, or a soccer ball —whatever makes your kids most happy. Set the timer on your phone and then get out and play. Be sure to join your children and stretch your legs too!
5 | Skip the candy aisle.
Skip the candy aisle on your road trip by ordering a Subway Meal with a cookie later. When refueling, pull out this pre-saved treat and skip the gas station arguments.
6 | Break up the monotony of a long drive by planning to visit one roadside attraction.
If you’re doing multiple days of traveling, consider breaking up your long trip with a roadside attraction. For example, we recently took a 14-hour road trip to the Black Hills National Park. On the way, we spent 45-minutes at The Little House on the Prairie Homestead. It can be wonderful to have something simple to look forward to on a day that would otherwise be non-stop driving. Pre-planning a roadside break can lift everyone’s spirits!
7 | Say Yes.
Make your family adventure memorable and shock your kids by saying “YES” in unexpected circumstances. For example, when we were driving through the Badlands a massive summer storm had just swept through. The dynamic landscape had melted onto the walkways, and there was wet sand everywhere.
My daughter clasped her hands together and asked, “Can we take off our shoes?” My first instinct was “definitely not,” as I imagined the mess. I hesitated for a moment, then said yes with a resigned sigh. THIS experience ended up being the most memorable ten minutes of our trip (watch the Instagram video). Be brave—Say YES when traveling.
Enjoy the Journey
At first, it may seem counterintuitive to make so many stops as you travel. I admit we used to take a “power through it” type of approach when driving with the kids. Sometime over the years, we’ve come to appreciate taking a slow approach. Remember, we’re talking about taking a family ROAD TRIP with your kids. Foster wanderlust in your children by embracing the joy of the journey.
Fully embrace this attitude on your next adventure with these simple parent-to-parent tips. For additional inspiration, be sure to check out our Traveling Mama Pinterest Board and our collective Family Travel Facebook Page, too.
PS: I’d love to hear where you’re headed this summer. Tell us about your travel plans in the comment below. We’re always looking for inspiration!
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Subway. The company who sponsored it compensated me via a cash payment, gift, or something else of value to write it. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. The opinions and text are all mine. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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