Tips for Car Travel with Young Children

Photo of a baby in a car seatThe phrase, “Are we there yet?” can drive a parent crazy especially when it is repeated approximately every ten minutes of a car trip that exceeds three hours. Although traveling by car can be a very affordable mode of transportation for families with children it can also be quite an adventure especially if the car trip is lengthy. There are, however, many trips that can help to make traveling in a car with young children a pleasant experience for all. Frequent stops, adequate entertainment and nutritious snacks are just a few tricks of the trade that can help to make car travel an enjoyable experience when children are involved.

Stopping periodically is essential when you are traveling with children. Children have notoriously short attention spans and stopping the car every hour or so to let them stretch their legs or run around at a rest area gives them the opportunity to burn off some excess energy and helps to keep them from becoming bored with sitting still in the car. Trying to stretch too long between stops can result in the children become restless and whiny in the car which makes the trip difficult for everyone involved. Bringing along toys such as balls and jump ropes for use at the rest areas will give the children a chance to play and exercise and will keep them looking forward to the next stop. Be careful to supervise the children closely and to make sure that they only play in the grassy areas away from the vehicles.

Bringing along toys, books or movies to entertain your child while the car is in motion can also make the trip more enjoyable. If you have a portable DVD player, try refraining from allowing your children to watch their favorite movies for a week or two before the trip so that they will be really excited to see the movie in the car. Also, either purchase a few new small toys or books that can be used in the car or hide a few old favorites before the trip so that they will seem like new when you give them to your child in the car. Keeping a child entertained in a car can be difficult because they would much rather be running and playing but following a few of these tips can help to hold your child’s attention span for longer periods of time.

Proper nutrition should not be neglected on car trips. Many adults tend to rely on fast food and junk foods during car trips but these foods could make your child’s stomach upset or could make them hyper which makes it even more difficult for them to sit still in a car. Pack healthy and nutritious snacks such as fruits and vegetables, sandwiches, cheese snacks and milk and juice. Refrain from giving your child sugary snacks such as candy and sodas because these can make your child feel overly hyper and can make them feel cranky when the effects of sugar begin to wear off. Conversely, providing healthy and nutritious snacks will keep your child’s blood sugar levels stable and will keep them properly fueled for the trip.

Car trips with young children don’t have to be difficult. With a little advanced planning these trips can be enjoyable for everyone and can include many stops at scenic locations for picnics or play. Besides making frequent stops, bringing along entertainment for your child as well as nutritious snacks will help to make car travel with your children a pleasant experience.

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