Are you looking for a way to make your next road trip with your children a little easier on all of you? This is the post for you. While road trips can be fun, a 5 minute drive with a screaming toddler can be VERY long.
We love a good road trip. Even now that we have 4 kids, road trips are the best. Over the years we have been on several road trips with our kids. We always want to make sure that they all have a good time, but we also want to make sure that we see everything that we want to see. Its a give and take for sure.
Now, did I oversell with this headline, probably – lets just face it, there is no EASY way to do a road trip, but these trips are sure to make it a bit easier on you.
How to make a road trip work with a family of 6:
Prepare the rute you are taking
I know that this is half the fun of a good road trip that you dont really know where you are going, but having a few stops along the way that you can all get excited about makes it easier for the kids to relate to what is going to happen over the next few days. And having prepared, even just an estimate, about where you will have lunch and dinner etc, makes it easier to talk to the kids about the trip.
Prepare the kids
Once you have prepared the trip, you can start preparing the kids. We always start talking about our road trip a few weeks before departure. In those talks we talk a lot about where we were going, what we will experience, and that we are going to drive for a long time. We stress the LONG time part – as that is what a road trip is. There is no point in not sharing this, especially our big kids really like to know what to expect. It’s not always easy for them to put in into perspective how long xx hours is, so we like to compare to trips they take on a regular basis “It’s like 4 times going to grandma’s house” or something similar.
We also talk about the “where” and the “in between” – what will we see. What will we experience. We get excited about the things that we will experience on the road.
This way once we are on the road we can go back and remind them that this is the part that we have talked about. That its going to be a long trip – but we are going to have fun. If its all planed out its possible for the kids to pick a few things they would like to see along the way. Maybe there is a playground that could be part of a lunch break – or something else equally exciting.
Make sure you have enough food and drinks.
Going on a road trip is hard enough, but if you have hungry kids in the back its just worse. Somehow our kids are always hungry when we start the car.
I always make sure we have enough food and drinks. For drinks we always use our water bottles, that don’t spill. We love our camelbak bottles – you can find them here on amazon. For snacks check out this cheerios necklace for the smaller kids, or this trick to keep snacks in recycled coffee containers.
I often bake a batch of our favorite rolls and grab a few for the trip. That is always a hit and keeps the kids full for longer.
You mighty also like: Genius camping gear for babys and toddlers
Make sure to take breaks.
Our kids are not used to driving long trips. They get itchy feet after about 1½- 2 hours. This means that we try to plan our trip in batches of 1½ to 2 hours and we find good rest stops with a playground or lots of space to run around. We make sure we burn off some steam before we get back in the car.
You need to look at your kids and what they are used to before you do this. But like I suggested in the beginning of this post – plan your trip in a way that suits your family. As long as we have a child that needs a nap in the middle of the day, that is our go to for long hauls on big roads. Your family rythm might be different. The most important thing is that if your kids are not used to car rides, you consider how to make meaningful breaks – i promise it will make a difference in the whole experience.
Have plenty of stories ready.
On a road trip one tip is to watch movies, and if your kids are good with that go right ahead and load up on movies and show them in the car. Our kids get carsick if they watch a screen in the car. We can however load up on great stories and equipped our big kids with headphones. They are then all set on listening to a story while looking out the window.
It can be fun to find a good audio book that fits the entire family – we have listened to Astrid Lindgren and that is always a hit. You can find plenty of great books over on audible – you can try that free and get two free audio books here.
Make a playlist for everyone.
Every summer we make a playlist of one favorite track from each family member. That way, we all have one track that we really enjoy. By the end of the trip everyone knows all tracks. It’s great when the holiday is over and you hear one of those tracks again. It’s a wonderful reminder of a great summer together.
Strings and pliers
One thing that is bound to happen during a road trip – something will drop to where no one can reach it. Especially when you are a large family, with a large car, it’s impossible to reach anything the kids through on the floor.
We make sure that the need to keep items have a string attached to it – this includes things like pasifiers, favorite dolls/cars etc. For everything else we have a pair of claw grabbers that can easily rescue the rest.
If all that fails we have to pull over, but we would rather keep going once we are away.
Have a few activities ready
Its great to have a few no prep activities ready for those times when everyone has had enough. One of our go to games are “Guess the animal” where everyone takes turn describing an animal. You start by describing details about the animal, four legs, stripes, lives in the jungle… You get it.. Whoever guesses the animal gets to think of an animal next.
You can get more inspired for simple activities in our post about kids activities.
Do you plan to go on a road trip this summer? If so, what are your best tips for a road trip?
Until next time