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5 Tricks to Save Sanity When Going on a Road Trip With Kids

When I was young and single, road trips were an adventure that I couldn’t wait to indulge in. Rolling down the windows and letting the breeze tousle my hair why unashamedly belt out ‘Free Falling’ by Tom Petty and living on whatever fast food I could find along the way.

cryingNow, it’s a mess of white knuckled driving down packed highways with 3 kids who are unable to share anything – including air – without a fight, listening to The Wiggles latest hit and living on chicken nuggets.

My husband and I were blissfully naive that first road trip. We always had a blast getting in the car and letting the road take us. About twenty minutes into the trip…it began. Whining, griping, nonstop question, bickering and demands for potty breaks. It made for a nightmare on the road, but we learned a lesson.

There are the obvious things like snacks, books, portable dvd players, tablets and toys, but here are some of the tricks I have used to keep my kiddos happy on the road

1. Landmark Bingo – My kids need a sense of time and location. To combat the “Are we there yet?!?” blues, I find landmarks along the path of our trip. I live in the midwest, so a trek to Florida is our typical yearly pilgrimage in the car. We hunt for cotton fields in Kentucky, the first sign with peaches in Georgia and palm trees in Florida. As soon as we see it, we mark it once we’ve marked all the spots, they know we are there.

2. Night Time Treat – Traveling at night? Glow sticks are your new best friend. Trust me. Bust out these treats after it gets dark and you have a light show that quickly becomes light sabers or, if you can find the bendable versions, have them make letters and shapes.

3. Art Binders – Color books seem to be a source of tension in the car. They are floppy and hard to color, so I bought 3 binders during back-to-school time and filled them with pages from their favorite color books, word searches, blank paper and baggies with crayons – no markers as they are tempting to create art on other surfaces, like car seats, windows and brothers.

4. Presents – It may sound like a form of bribery because, well, it is. For every argument free, tear free, complaint free hour in the car the kids get a “present.” I wrap up little treats I usually score at the Dollar Tree and, if they make the hour without much of a fuss, they get the present. I think the key here is actually wrapping the treat. Something about getting to rip paper adds more fun.

5. Separate Everything – Including the kids when you can. I found a small fold-able basket that I once used in my son’s nursery. I put books and toys in the basket and placed it between the kids. It creates a barrier between them and prevents the “She’s touching me!” issue. Also, make sure everyone has their own binder, their own drink and their own crayons.

What are some of your tips or tricks? Share in the comment section below…