Summer weather beckons us to the open road. Of course, traveling with little ones is no walk in the park.
It’s not always easy to travel long distances with children in tow, but that shouldn't stop you from enjoying summer adventures. With some preparation and planning, your family can have many fun adventures ahead.
Boredom Busters for Toddlers and Young Kids
When it comes to toddlers and young children, the biggest challenge is keeping them content and occupied for the duration of the trip. Whining, fussing, kicking the back of your seat—these behaviors are likely to pop up when your child’s brain is requesting something to do.
You can help keep your child occupied while you travel by packing a “special” travel backpack, filled with new coloring books, or picture books, maybe even some new toys. The key here is that it’s “new” to your child, so even some borrowed toys from a friend, or a few items from The Dollar Store will seem fun and fresh to your child and they will be more likely to engage with them for longer than they would the toys they see every day. Older children may enjoy having a disposable camera to take pictures with or a personal journal to document their trip.
Some families have success dishing out items from the backpack as needed, such as when they see their child begin to get restless or tired of the toy they are playing with. If you give your child the whole pack, they will likely dump it all out and the fun and excitement will wear off sooner.
Another great idea for keeping littles busy in the car or airplane is snacks. Your young child might even have fun shopping for their “trip snacks” with you, especially if they can pick out a few “special” items. You can save yourself some mess by putting your child’s snacks in individual serving containers that your child can open with little assistance, such as sandwich baggies. Crackers in a baggie, yogurt or fruit pouches, or baggies of dry cereal make great snack options on the go.
Depending on how long your trip is you may want to scout out some places for your child to get out of the car and run around. Perhaps, there are some fun playgrounds or children’s museums along your route that you can stop at. You could also find a park to have lunch or a snack at. Sometimes a quick change of scenery is enough to recharge everyone’s batteries.
Ready to Hit the Road
Traveling is a learned skill for children, and it may take some smaller trips with your toddler before gearing up for the big one. Give yourself plenty of time to pack and plan ahead. Write out a check-list of what you need to bring (perhaps, organized by each family member), or errands you need to run leading up to the trip. This can help soothe a lot of your worries. And don’t forget to pack extra of everything!