Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix.
Mason took his first road trip to NY when he was about 3 weeks old. Kyla was 6 weeks old. Since his very first road trip Mason has taken about 50+ more road trips most lasting 6+ hours long. That’s a lot of road trips and to be honest I consider myself somewhat of an “expert” especially since I do the trip by myself every single time.
In about two weeks I’m taking another road trip to New York. My parents are going to be staying with Mason while Kyla and I head to The Windy City for the Save Babies Through Screening Blogger Baby Shower and BlogHer13. I’m already starting to prepare for the trip as this will only be my 3rd 6 hour car drive with kids!
Here are my best tips and tricks for traveling with kids, especially those under 5!
Leave on Their Schedule Not Yours
This is so important. Does your child nap for 3 hours from 10am-1pm? Leave at 10am. Does your child sleep til 10am? Leave at 5am, gentle carry them to the car. Are you doing the trip with someone else? Leave at the kids bed time and switch on and off so that you both get some sleep.
The goal is to have them be asleep as much as possible while driving.
Don’t Forget About the Basics
Make sure they use the bathroom before they leave and all diapers are changed! Also make sure they’ve been fed. These seems like the basic things but you’d be surprised how easily it is to forget these things and how annoying it is being 20 minutes into a drive and needed to stop to do one of those things!
Make sure the car seats are installed correctly before taking off. We do the install if it’s been a while and you think it could use some tightening. They can use blankets but make sure nothing goes in between the car seat and your child. Remove any small unnecessary objects that can harm them during a crash.
Pack & Gas up the Day Before
Make sure the car is packed the day before and that your tank is full so that when the kids are ready to leave so are you.
Prepare for a Sick Child
Mason gets car sickness something fierce. I’m sure there has been times where he hasn’t puked but they’re so few and far between that I can’t even remember!
Make sure that you have bags for them in case they need to puke and you can’t pull over right away. Pack lollipops like Queasy Pops for Kids . Dress them lightly, this will make sure they don’t get over heated which can lead to nausea and make sure you have a change of clothes within reach.
If your child gets car sick aim for snacks that will be easy on their stomachs like crackers. Other great snack ideas are
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Ants on a log (celery with peanut butter in the middle and raisins on top)
Don’t forget to bring drinks too! Packing drinks and snacks is also a double bonus because it helps you save money!
This one is more on the hard side. It’s not easy for kids to entertain themselves especially in the car so this is where you come in. I entertain Mason multiple ways. I made him a portable chalkboard that he can color/draw on. It was very simple. I picked up a small wooden board from Michael’s and painted it with some homemade chalkboard. It took all of 10 minutes which included multiple layers.
We also sing songs. He loves singing Row, Row, Row Your Boat at varying speeds, we got the idea from Storytime and he’s obsessed. It’s adorable.
Our main form of entertaining however is Netflix. Mason uses my Kindle and iPhone a lot when we’re on road trips. I have a bookmark on my Kindle that brings him to the Netflix Families Page.
While they do have some shows for parents on the page the majority are appropriate for Mason which enables him to easily pick out his own shows. Since Wi-Fi is required to use Netflix I also have this page book marked on my phone. It’s not as big of a screen but it still works.
We pay $7.99/month for our streaming account and it is worth every penny for road trips alone! Of course we use it when we’re not road tripping too! We have weekly “Movie Nights” were we get to eat our favorite snacks and enjoy some movies together or lately endless episodes of Power Rangers.
PS the kindle is also good for entertaining kids while you’re trying to get the last minute stuff done before hitting the road
Expect the Worst
If there is one thing I’ve realized when traveling with 1-2 kids by myself is the best thing you can do is to go with the flow and expect the worst. Don’t expect to make the best possible time ever, do expect the kids to sleep the whole time if you do that when things are better you’re over joyed and when they’re not, well you were mentally prepared!
Any tips or tricks you can share with me? I’m always open to ideas on making my road trips easier!
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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Netflix.