Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Vacation Car Survival Guide

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With summer basically here and summer vacations starting to sprout up soon.  I've pulled together a list of some great things to pack to entertain your kids in the car with the goal of minimizing screaming/crying, "Are we there yet?" questions, fighting, and general restlessness. These are just the tips and tricks that I've found and used in my childhood therefore is not exhaustive by any means.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I've seen a few lists like this floating around Pinterst, who knows maybe mine with by next!  Hopefully it will keep us from arriving like this: 

Use a cooler! I always pack lots of fresh fruit, cheese, milk, and water for trips.  I fill up the cooler with these healthy snacks for the whole family so we aren't tempted to buy snacks at the gas station.

Have a food bag!  In addition for the chilled food and drink we always have I also pack a bunch of non-perishable snacks for us to munch on.  I usually just throw the whole bag of something in our food bag, but I recently saw someone mention that they divide up the snacks into individual serving sizes.  I think I'm going to give that one a try on our next trip.

Don't forget the entertainment!  We were lucky when we bought our SUV it came with a built in DVD, not particularly a feature we were looking for, but when you buy used you don't always get options.  This is great because we always hit up the library for a few DVDs before a long car ride so when my son starts to get fussy or antsy we can distract him with an Elmo or Thomas the Tank video.

In addition we always pack some cars and other toys he can easily play with while sitting in his car seat.  Being a mother of a boy, a few toys with wheels can do a LONG way in a car ride.  And of course we also have plenty of books handy.  I just learned that they make some children's books on CD with the book to go with it.  I'd never seen these before, but apparently my library has them so this is on my list to try this summer.

Blankets and Pillows and Animals, Oh My! Don't forget a favorite blanket/pillow/stuff animal for nap time in the car.  We try to keep at least the blanket hidden in the car somewhere until it's time to go to sleep, that way when our son sees it he knows it's time to settle down and get some sleep. 

Speaking of rest!  Don't forget to stop and rest often.  We have a potty trained toddler so these rest stops are very regimented, but if you have older children or ones still in diapers, it's always nice to get out and stretch your legs every once in a while.  Speaking of the rest stop, why not throw in a few items to help burn off some energy at the rest stop?  Bubbles anyone? 

Once you arrive!  Let them out and run around for a while, after all, they deserve it especially after been cooped up for several hours in the card.  If your little ones are anything like mine, without fail.  It doesn't matter how long the trip is 2 hours or 20 hours, that last hour is the worst! 

With these tips, hopefully we'll arrive like this:
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