Tuesday, June 10, 2014

How to Plan a Road Trip your Kids will Love: Tip 3

Children thrive on routine.  Traveling is no different.  Routine will calm frazzled nerves, and let you save your energy for the adventures! I knew we had really gotten comfortable with our traveling routine the night that we walked into our hotel room, and my three-year-old headed straight for the bathroom, undressed, and hopped in the tub.  Here are a few hints on how to establish a routine that leads to a road trip your kids will love. 

If you want your kids to love your next road trip, you need to establish a little routine.  Here's how!

Pack by activity

Since  our children are too young to take responsibility for their things, my husband suggested this system. It works so well!

We have one overnight bag with all of our toiletries and pajamas.  We pack clothes by outfit in Ziploc storage bags, in the suitcases.  Each evening, when we pull over to sleep, we each choose one outfit for the next day and put it in the toiletry bag.  The overnight bag and electronics bag are the only ones that need to come in, unless we also grab the swim bag!  Giving the children control of what they wear and eat helps them feel more settled in the craziness of traveling. 

In the morning, dirty clothes go back in the clothing bag. The laundry bags stay in the vehicle unless we are washing the laundry.  Then it is taken to the laundry room, and everything repacked in the ziploc bags. Each child has their suitcase with just a jacket, stuffed animal, favorite book.  Well, occasionally other items mysteriously appear.  All electronics go in one bag, though.  That makes it easy to be sure everything is charged over night, out of the heat, and the site of thieves. We also have a bag just for car activities, a bag for food that I can reach, and often a second store of food and water in the back.  This system saves my husband and I stress, allowing everyone to have a better time. 

Rest Stop Routine

Whenever we pull over, every one is mandated to use the toilet.  Then, we spend a few minutes exploring or playing tag.  Either my husband or I quickly discard the trash and organizes snack, drinks, and activities so we will be comfortable on the next leg of our trip.

Organizing the Day

What works well depends both on how much ground you need to cover, and how old the children are.  We have found that our pre-schoolers do best when we wake them about fifteen minutes before pulling out and eat breakfast in the car.  They love those bagels!  If we have a long day of travel, we hold off on electronics until thirty minutes before our lunch stop.  On short days, we can splurge. We try to make lunch a long stop somewhere that the kids can really be active, like a park or restaurant with a play area.  After lunch, it's another hour with out electronics.  Usually they fall asleep.  When they wake up, snacks and electronics flow freely, until we pull in for the night.

Make it an Adventure, Make Car Time a Treat, and Establish Your Routine.  Those are my ideas for planning a great road trip.  What are you doing to make your next road trip special?

Pinterest boards
Traveling with Kids, organized by the Measured Mom
My personal Road Trip board

 The post,  Planning a Road Trip your Kids will Love: Establish Routine by Christy McGuire originally appeared on WisdomKnowledgeJoy@blogspot.com, now Thriving STEM.com.

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I can't wait to hear what you have to say! Thanks for sharing.