5 tips to travel in your car with kids and not go nuts!

I have 4 boys, they are all reliant on me still.  They are young.  So going places can be a nightmare if we aren’t prepared.  The car can be exhausting to me if the kids aren’t equipped with what they need. I’ve gotten to the point that the car rides are relaxing.  Often times, we throw the kids in the car and take a drive.  Why? Because they are all strapped in, they cant break anything, cant get lost, cant run or move.  To me, that’s relaxing.  Here are some tips that I have learned to make car rides easier!

1) Use the bathroom before you leave– This is a big one.  I learned it quickly.  My in laws used to live over an hour away and when we would drive home from their house in the evening, the kids would all fall asleep.  I learned after a couple times that going to the bathroom before we get in the car is critical. Yes, I learned the hard way.  I learned by having to take my carseat apart and wash it! No matter where we are going, my first words are always “ok everyone go to the bathroom first”.  On top of that, have you ever been in the car with kids on the thruway that keep saying “I have to go to the bathroom” “I have to go right now” “I can’t wait” “I peed my pants”.  Those words still ring in my ears, and it can make your car ride so stressful.  Do everyone a favor and make all of your kiddos hit the potty before they load into the car.

2) Make the car comfortable for them if you are planning a long trip- Make sure you pack what they need to keep them comfy should they happen to fall asleep.  Pack pillows, blankets, their stuffed animals, whatever they need to keep them comfy while they sleep.  We used to have to bring my son to the hospital for surgery and we had to leave at 5 am.  Wayyyy earlier than he liked! So we would have the car set up and bags packed the night before.  The next morning, we just had to transfer him to the car, give him his blanket and pillow and back to bed he went.

3) Pack, pack pack- If we are taking a long trip, I bring a little cooler that I pack with drinks, snacks, and food.  This eliminates the dreaded stops for “I’m thirsty” “I’m hungry” We pack enough to feed an army.  BUT….Don’t mention the food until they start asking.  I have found that if I start out the ride and say that I have snacks, then they ask for snacks the entire time.  Wait until they ask, or wait until you’re part way through your trip. Also, make sure you pack extra clothes, diapers etc for accidents.  Yes, I’ve thought exactly what you are thinking,  I don’t them and then we hit a bump and the bottle of water spills all over their shorts, pack for emergencies!

4) Pack them a prize bag- Whenever we are going on a trip, I pack each kid a little paper bag filled with prizes for the car.  A pack of candy, a matchbox car, a coloring book, word search game, gi joes.  These are all little things I have bought to pack in the car.  The kids look forward to their prize bags.  I don’t give them right away, I tell them they have to earn it.  If they can get down the road without fighting, complaining, or screaming, then we start to award the prize bags.  This gives them incentive to cooperate during the car loading process. Here are some ideas for kids of all ages:

Babies- Pack baby toys, rattles (if that wont drive you nuts) stuffed animals, soft books

Toddlers- hotwheels, polly pockets, gi joes, coloring books, writing pads, childrens books, candy, gum, etch a sketch

Older kids-books, ipods, handheld games, journals, candy, gum

Car dvd players are a life saver also.  You can pick them up for less than $50 at walmart, in my opinion they are well worth the $50!!

5)Have fun– I have found that when we play games such as “I spy” and “license plate game” “car color game” my kids have a fun ride in the car.  Interact with them while you are in the car, tell them a story, sing a song, play a game.  Have fun in the car, it makes things less stressful on your kids and on you!



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  1. I love your blog!!! Its so pretty! And I love your post. I will be using these tips when we travel to the States this fall. We’ll be on an airplane, but I know most of these tips will keep us from going completely insane. 🙂 Thank you for writing. Have a great weekend!

    • Marissa says:

      Rosilind, thanks for stopping by! And thank you for your missions heart to serve God! Good luck on the airplane 🙂 Have a great weekend!