Traveling with small children can be a pleasurable experience for adults and children, if prepared. If the traveling event has not been planned in advance it can cause unneeded stress for adults and children, thereby immediately reducing some of the enjoyment that takes place during a family road trip. One idea to alleviate any departing stress would be departing just prior to a child's normal sleep time. Leaving around the time of a child's normal sleep schedule usually allows for a few hours of settling in and getting the first leg of the journey completed with little to no distraction. With that being said, parents planning to drive through the late evening hours may want to alter their own routine enough in advance to schedule in a nap. This will insure that the family is traveling with a well rested and alert driver at the wheel.
Other than departing around a child's sleep schedule, there are a few items that children can bring with on a trip that will help ease the discomfort and restlessness a small child may experience during a long road trip. When possible, have the child pack their own backpack with things that they are accredited to playing with and depending on the age, your assistance may be required. This will involve the child in the planning and assist them in understanding why some of the changes are occurring to their normal routine.
Following is a few ideas of items that can easily be packed and bring hours of satisfaction to a family trip.
o Age appropriate reading material such as picture books for small children and reading books for older children.
o Music playing electronic devices such as MP3 or CD player. Remember to bring along an extra set of batteries.
o Age appropriate activity books such as coloring books or puzzle books along with Color Wonder items. Color Wonder products do not show color without used on specific paper or specific surfaces.
o Child specific backpack with personal items of their choice. Plastic drinking cups with built in straws that can have juice or water frozen in them prior to trip will reduce spilling and the need for ice.
o Electronic games
o Snack package containing fruit snacks or cereals such as Kix or Cheerios. Carrots and celery are another good option. There are many snack options available that will not leave sticky residue on fingers, face or automobile seats. Snacks can be packed to fit into a child's personal backpack.
Keeping in mind the amount of time that will be required to travel to destinations destination will help in determining just how many items the child should bring along. Age appropriate items that fit the child's attention span will be key when implementing some of the previous tips.