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Travel

How to Get from Point A to Point B with Young Kids

Car rides aren’t every family’s idea of a good time, but everyone can benefit from a child that travels well. It’s up to you to lay the foundation.

Getting Real with Kira Hazledine

Not every kiddo is a great traveler, and some road trips will be more successful than others. There are too many variables to predict how travel will go with young children, but sometimes travel can’t be helped. You might be moving, traveling for work, or on your way to visit family. Whether your children love the journey is to be determined, but there are steps you can take to make it easier on everyone.

Overpack.

I say this with a bit of sarcasm, because my husband always tells me I’m way over-prepared. But there have been some moments where I was glad that I considered the what-ifs and packed accordingly. Did I know my toddler was going to shove her socks into her mouth, soaking them in the parked car while I was trying to feed the baby in the front seat? No. No I did not. Good thing I had extra socks packed for my toddler, something I normally reserve for the infant who likes to lose socks. (He had three extra pairs.) Bring snacks and then bring an extra snack. Bring extra water. You never know what you’ll need.

If it’s a long journey, consider packing an extra outfit for yourself, too. I’ve had a baby puke all over me and was glad I had brought a change of clothes for all involved. It would’ve sucked to wear a puke-stained shirt the rest of the ride.

Start with nothing.

The only thing we hand our children at the beginning of any long journey is a stuffed animal or treasured doll to hold. That’s it. We rely on the passing scenery and music to entertain our children for as long as possible. You don’t want to bring out the big guns until absolutely necessary, and you’d be surprised how fascinated kids are by the world around them.

Bring favorites.

When the kids finally get bored, have some of their favorite car-friendly items on hand. Books are great for car rides, and even our toddler is happy with a teether to fidget with as they sit. Stickers are easy to have in the car as well, but don’t be surprised to find stickers all over the seat for a bit.

Keep trying.

Not every child is going to love the car. Not every child is going to be capable of withstanding the car seat for extended periods of time. Keep trying. Do short trips until you figure out what they’re capable of and extend the ride even for just a few minutes. It will come in handy those times when you do have to hit the road unexpectedly, and you’ll have a child better prepared for travel.

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