If you’re going on a family vacation or road trip with your preschooler, you’re probably wondering how you can keep from hearing that phrase that every parent dreads: “Are we there yet?” On a long trip, you’ll probably hear it eventually anyway, but if you plan carefully to keep your little one happy, you can at least put it off for a few hours. Here are a few tips to help you get through a long drive with young children with your sanity intact:
- Let your child know your plans. Children are surprisingly patient if they know exactly how long they need to wait for and what will happen along the way. Tell your child what times you expect to leave, stop for breaks and get to your destination before you get in the car and they’ll have an easier time keeping calm on the road.
- Bring toys and games. As New Kids Center points out, “There really has never been a better time to be a kid in the backseat of a car on a long road trip!” From mobile games on smartphones and tablets to good old-fashioned coloring books and travel versions of board games, there is a whole range of options you can offer to your children on a long car trip.
- Pack snacks and drinks. If your child has something to munch on, they’re less likely to get cranky and start complaining, so bring along a selection of healthy snacks to enjoy along the drive. The best road trip snacks for young children are mess-free, simple ones like granola bars, bananas and grapes.
For more helpful ideas, explore our Parenting Tips resources section.