Especially if you’ve got little monkeys to cart with you, it really sucks when you’ve got a long car ride ahead of you and you haven’t prepared to pass the time as best as you can. Believe it or not there can be fun on a long haul car ride with just a little bit of preparation. Along with that are tips and tricks which are going to help your mind focus on the positive in front of you. A few keys are timing; making sure you time naps and sleep times the best that you can. Taking regular breaks; stopping at set time for a stretch and maybe a snack, and making sure you have little things to look forward to; like a treat in an hour or maybe you get to buy a new magazine. Long trips don’t have to be torture. The “ride” part can actually be lots of fun if you open your mind up to it and set the platform up to deliver!
Plan Your Departure Time Carefully
Sometimes you have no choice because you’re on a tight schedule. But when you have some flexibility make sure you leave strategically. Maybe you have a toddler that just won’t sleep in the car. So set yourself up to leave just after naptime so you don’t have a cranky baby that won’t sleep when you’re trying to drive. On the other hand, if you are okay with late night driving and your kids sleep well in the car, perhaps you want to aim to leave late afternoon so you can get a decent amount of driving in when they’re sleeping. And a little side note here. When you are out and about during the day on your travels, DO NOT skip naptime or assume you will tucker the kids out and they’ll sleep well at night. That can be disastrous! If they are used to napping stick to it the best, you can. Finally, depending on the length of your drive, the timing of departure can literally mean the difference between “happy drive” and the “drive from hell!”
Have Tiny Not-Messy Treats
Having a few special treats to divvy out in a timely fashion is often a lifesaver when you’re traveling a fair distance. If after an hour, the kids start complaining you can announce you have a special treat for them in “2 more episodes” of their favorite show. Or if they are a little older you can actually give them a time or city milestone where they get to have the treat. This serves a dual purpose; ensuring they behave and giving them something to look forward to. A trick that comes in handy in all sorts of different situations. And of course, it really does work wonders on long road trips.
Everybody Pees Just Before Hopping in the Car – Including You!
This is the worst. You all get piled in the car set to go and about 10 minutes in someone has to stop and go to the bathroom. Not a good start for a long drive. An excellent habit to get into is to create the rule that EVERYBODY, including you, visits the washroom whether you have to go or not, right before you hop in the car. This way you aren’t going to have to stop prematurely. And on that note, it doesn’t hurt to limit fluids before and during the long car ride. Simple tactics that when enforced get you to your intended destination much faster!
Ensure Everyone Has Packed Something Special To Do
If you get the kids something special to do during the car ride, this really helps pass time. Crossword puzzles and books are great. And I used to get those invisible pen activity books that were loads of no-mess fun. The idea is to think of what types of things your kids like and choose accordingly. Rubik cubes are another awesome time-killer that will help keep everyone entertained while the miles click past.