I recently took a seven plus hour road trip from Corpus Christi to Dallas… with four kids… six years old and under. Let me tell you, this is not for the faint of heart. I lost count of how many times I heard, “Are we there yet?” from my 4 year old. However, this is a trip we make a few times a year, so I do have a couple of tips to make your long road trip a bit more bearable.
*Please keep in mind, this is geared towards preschool and grade school age children. I have no idea what to do with teenagers yet. So please share below what works for them!*
- Coloring Books: Now, I’m not talking their usual coloring books with ripped pages. I’m not recommending they use the old broken crayons they have in their bedroom. I got my boys new coloring books and crayons for this last road trip and they thought it was the best thing ever. You can do this super cheap too: hit up your local dollar store and it only cost $2 per kid.
- Tablet: We actually didn’t do this on our last road trip, but we’ve let them watch a movie before on a longer road trip (Texas to California.) Now, if your kids don’t normally watch TV, you can just ignore this tip, but if they have some favorite movies or shows, get some for the road and you can have some peace and quiet for half an hour or so.
- Special Snacks: We have a couple of “special” snacks that my kids eat on road trips. Goldfish and lollipops. Again, this will also ensure some peace and quiet for a little but while they’re munching.
- Timing: If you know you’re going to hit the road for a while, plan to be on the road during their usual nap or sleeping time. I know some families that leave late at night for long drives. We personally aren’t huge night owls, so we will leave really early in the morning in hopes the kids will fall back to sleep in the car. The younger two usually do, but it can be hit and miss for the older two boys. Plan what works for you!
- Car Games: There’s always the option of good old fashioned car games to keep kids busy while you’re driving. Some of our favorites are I Spy and Windmill. (To play Windmill, start counting windmills and the person with the most windmills wins.) I know some families like to make up their own games too so feel free to get creative here!