As some of you know, we drove the 14 hours to Utah last week with only one of the 4 kids in tow. And the drive was, for lack of a better description – very relaxing. Roman kept busy with his Leapster, DVD’s and back pack(full of crayons, books, paper and action figures). We watched Spider Man 1 and 2 more times than I can count, devoured snacks, and sang songs. Daddy didn’t pull out his harmonica once, but we still had many laughs. Lastly, the weather and traffic both cooperated.
However, when we have all 4 children, the drive can be pretty hectic at times, if I allow it. There is a much higher noise level in the car along with complaints of boredom. To try to curb those moments of chaos, I do a little prep work before we leave:
I budget some extra money to spend on items that will keep them entertained for roughly 12 hours. I’m not too stoked to add another expense to the trip, but believe me, there will be a point when I’m in the car in the midst of screaming and will kick myself for not buying that $10.00 video game.
Each child receives a new book/magazine(Target and Dollar Stores have great discounts), one new DVD($10.00 or less) for us all to watch, if the kids have any Itunes giftcards , they have yet to use, I suggest they load some new music, etc on their Ipods. Everyone brings a pillow/small blanket. I ask them to each pack their backpack with all electronics, any homework, “cuddlies” for the younger ones, etc. I then pack 4 Snack Bags, labeled with each child’s name. I use Gallon Ziplocks and fill them with the new book I purchased (as a surprise), granola bars, fruit, water, nuts, etc. That snack bag should last the whole trip one-way. Once it’s gone – it’s gone. We stop to eat meals and are able to get out, stretch and burn some energy. I find leaving before 5am, works well ,so that the kids sleep in the car for at least a couple of hours.
These road trips are some of the best memories, my family makes together. And with a little effort put into them, its smooth sailing ahead.