Road Trip with Kids, think they don’t do go well together? Think again ! This post in the Road Trip Planner series is all about helping you the perfect one !
I know a lot of people shy away from road trip with kids but we have been traveling with Ojas since he was 3 months. And every time I tell people that they ask me for tips. They ask me how I manage him.
Let me begin by stating that I have really been lucky enough to have a child who loves the road and does not have motion sickness. But I also think that apart from the fact that I am lucky one must plan well when one is on the road with kids. The key really is in planning and here are my top few things to take care of while planning a road trip with kids
I know in India, we don’t take this very seriously. But my top most advice to all parents when thinking about road trip with kids is BUCKLE UP. Buy the car seat suitable for your child’s age. And have him travelled in the car seat always. Yes the child might cry for a bit but will eventually understand that this is how it is supposed to be. In our view, Safety First Always.
Enough to Eat
If O is cranky there are usually two major reasons to it – sleep or hunger. Sleep usually is not a problem with 90% of the kids during travel. The drive will gently rock them to sleep. But hunger it can turn a child into a monster (I think to some extent adults too). So plan to carry snacks and lots of it. Coming up soon – Best snacks to pack for the road trip.
The second most important point when it comes to kids is entertainment, here you have to think according to your child. What works for mine is a couple of CD’s (we have a portable DVD player, but we time how much can he watch), some music that he likes that we can all sing along too. Playing word games which are age appropriate. For the younger kids start with showing things on the road and ask what is that and explain what they don’t know. Actually that works for kids most ages – this Delhi trip we discussed clutches, gears, windmills, volcanoes, earthquakes, sun and shadow, truck sizes and its relation to the number of wheels among many more things on the way. The trick is to keep them engage in things. If you have two kids you can get them to play dots and cross and some simple games with each other too. In our household books play a very very important part of entertainment too. Let the child chose his or her own books. If he/she is big enough to read by themselves let them else you read to them. Sangi mentioned an interesting game like 10 questions to get to know each other better. I can’t wait to try it on my next drive.
Toys or Familiar Objects
Kids thrive on familiarity. All it takes is the favourite teddy or ball or bay blade for them to feel comfortable and at home. Let them pack their own toy travel bags. Give them guidelines on whats good and whats not but let them choose. O has been choosing his own toy bag with our help since he was 1 and now he does it all by himself, it also helps me run away from the blame he might put on me incase I forget his toy home
For babies and kids in diapers this is not a big deal but with older kids it does become a big deal. So be prepared, the rest rooms on the Indian roads unfortunately leave a lot to be desired for. So carry your own toilet seat covers, anti bacterial wipes, sanitiser. And be prepared to explain to them why the toilets on the road are not clean and what can we do it make them better, its a great time to instil some values. Having said that prepare for all this but also prepare to make them willing to pee on the roadside. Some places in India unfortunately one just has to do it.
Kids need to stretch legs, take fresh air more often then us so plan a stop even if its for 10 minutes, every two to three hours. It may seem a lot but trust me it will save you lot of effort and time in the long run
Fight the big battles, not the small arguments
I think this is just as most of the time at home too but becomes even more important when it comes to travel. Don’t fret if he has eaten a little two many chocolates but yes fight if he doesn’t sit in his car seat.
Start Early, Start Small
This is what I tell most parents, for the first two – three years if you never travel with your child on road, please don’t expect him to do a 12 hour road trip in his first trip. Get him used to the car, get him used to the road and see your child fall in love with it. We actually did the first road trip with Ojas when he was a little over 3 months and we think we delayed the first trip
So happy driving folks, do share if you have more tips to add to this
More in the Road Trip Planner series till now,
Coming up next – Car snacks for the road trip.