Six Not-So-Genius Tricks when Road Tripping Any Amount of Time with Kids...

We survived 3 weeks on the road with our kids!

I am no Pinterest mom, BUT I did just survive almost three weeks on the road with our six-year-old and three-year-old. If I'm being completely honest, we didn't just survive---we thrived!!!!

I thought about doing a post on a bunch of intricate and Pinterest-esque tips on traveling with kids, but that's not really what took place, so I'm not going to fake it.

That being said, I did want to share some tips that I found super helpful. I can't promise that you haven't heard these things before, but what I can promise is that they are cheap, easy, quick, and can be done by me, so they can be done by YOU.

So, whether you are driving an hour to visit the in-laws, or a for a few weeks like we just did, these were our "musts" when it came to the kiddos!

I hope you find them helpful!

*Disclaimer* I am typing this with my kids shooting Nerf Guns all around me, so please excuse typos. #HighlightREAL

Six Not-So-Genius Tricks When Road Tripping Any Amount of Time with Kids...

1.) Whether You Have to Pee or Not, You're Going...AT EVERY STOP

At almost every stop, only one of my two kids had to go to the bathroom. At our first stop, I realized that if I didin't get them on the same schedule, our stops were going to be a lot more frequent. Initially, it seems so much easier to just run the one kid in, but sure enough 15 minutes back on the road, and the other one is yelling for a bathroom. So, at our first stop I told the kids, "If one has to use the bathroom, we are all going." There is nothing worse than making a pit stop and that one kiddo claims "I don't have to go!" only to hear the potty scream 5 miles later. So our rule was if we have to stop for one person, we are all going to use the restroom, even if we don't have to. The trick was magic, and surprisingly, we didn't have any 15 minute later incidents!

2.) Treasure Bag = Magic!

So I made a few stories regarding this magical bag on our Instagram, and it turned out to be a life saver! I can't take credit for thinking this up myself, and I don't remember where I heard about this idea, but from here on out it's a staple when we have long trips. All I did was run to The Dollar Store and buy about $20 worth of stuff. Some of this stuff included candy, stickers, little trinkets, coloring books, etc. I did not tell the kids what was in the bag ahead of time, and I hid it up in the front seat by me. I told the kids that I had a treasure bag, and if they were well behaved and kept their areas clean, at each stop they would get to choose a treat. For the most part, my kids were well behaved, but anytime they began to argue or act up, I reminded them that their treasures were only for good behavior, and they were back to their best behavior. The other benefit was that after each stop, they had something new to keep them entertained. This was so helpful for me since I drove the first 20 hours alone.

3.) Keeps Snacks at a Minimum

I limit my kids snacks at home, so why would I spend extra money letting them snack in the car when they are already cooped up more than usual?  I knew that snacks would mean increased bathroom stops, a messy car, and upset bellies. I know this sounds anti-road trip, but honestly, this was so helpful in getting them to eat real meals at our stops. It also kept the bathroom breaks to a minimum and our car less cluttered.  They each has access to water, and I kept a bag of just a few healthier snack options up by me in case they did get hungry, but avoiding total access to snacks was a win for us.

4.) Electronics Are Your Friend

Ok, I know that many people might disagree with me here, but when it came to electronics on our road trip, I had to be really honest with myself. As much as I would have loved to have my kids read books and quietly gaze out the window the entire time, that was a fantasy. I knew I had a 20 hour road trip ahead of me with two little kids, and no other adults.  I decided that now is not the time to be Super mom. My focus was to make the trip as pleasant as possible and get there safely, and the electronics helped immensely with that. Our portable electronics are reserved only for long road trips, so they were a special treat, and because of that, they kept the kids entertained (and me sane.) Each kid had their own DVD player and a tablet. There were times that we were able to sing, have conversations, and enjoy each other's company. Then there were times that I was so thankful that I could simply say, "Ok, time to put your headphones on." While they were enjoying a movie or a game, I was able to enjoy silence, or even listen to a podcast or two of my own. If you want to limit electronics, I get it, but choose wisely and know that if you allow them during a road trip, you're still a stellar mom!

5.) Wipes, Wipes, Wipes

Boogers, sticky hands, dirty windows, or giving the kids something to do...wipes are a must. I kept a pack of wipes up front with me and put a pack of wipes in each of the kids doors along with a hand sanitizer. This kept me from having to reach back and clean messes, and it also gave the kids a sense of responsibility. I told them at each stop that they needed to wipe down their cup holders and get rid of trash. They LOVE wipes, so this encouraged them to keep their area tidy. Cheap buy, and well worth it...don't underestimate the power of wipes!

6.) Keep it Simple!

Like I said, I had all of these elaborate plans to do everything a Pinterest mom would do, but I'm me and that didn't happen...and to be honest I'm glad! Looking back I realized that I would have wasted a lot of time and money doing all of these elaborate things for two little kids who could honestly care less. Kids are pretty simple! When I realized how short I was on time, I quickly went around the house and gathered some coloring and activity books that we already had and put them in two separate bins (one for each kid). Those bins sat under their feet and they knew those were their activities. To be completely transparent, the amount of time they spent in those bins compared to their DVD players was pretty small, and that's okay! I think the same would have been true even if the bins were full of expensive stuff from Hobby Lobby. Keep it simple! Find stuff already around your house, and don't overload your car.

Well, I think thats about it. Like I said, I don't have a ton of tips, and what I have isn't elaborate. It is do-able though, and that's what I like!

I hope you find this helpful whether you are planning a cross-country road trip like us, or driving an hour to see family!

If you have tips for road-tripping with kids, please share below!

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