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Simplifying Traveling with the Kids

Jul 10, 2008
Gas prices are up and a lot of people are cutting back on travel this summer. But if you do take a road trip with the kids, why not make it as easy as possible on yourself?

1. Pack Healthy Snacks and Drinks

Think about how often kids get hungry on the road. If you bring along snacks and a few drinks you can cut down on those little stops that add up so much.

The healthier, the better. Salty snacks can encourage kids to drink more, and as every parent knows, every drink encourages a demand for a potty break. If your children like fresh vegetables such as cucumbers or bell peppers, these have a nice bit of liquid in them so they won't make the kids feel too thirsty. Fruits can be good as well.

Keep the drinks to water and juice. Soda can make the urge to go to the bathroom even more powerful for a lot of people.

And of course try to minimize the trash. The cooler carrying your snacks will take up enough space; why make it worse with a trash bag?

2. Plan for Boredom

Traveling is boring for the most part, after all. There's only so much scenery to be enjoyed along most highways.

DVD players are very popular these days. The portable ones are amazingly cheap and I know a lot of families have them already. Let each child pick some movies to bring along. Just don't let them overuse it when you get to your destination.

There are a lot of games you can play in the car too. I Spy and similar games can keep everyone happily busy. Games that don't require you bring a board or pieces are best for in the car - nothing to lose and no space taken, but many kids have handheld video games they can bring along for a little solo entertainment.

3. Know How Urgent Potty Breaks Can Be

The younger the child, the more urgent the need for a potty break generally is. The fact that they tell you just as you pass the last exit for the next 30 miles doesn't help matters any.

Plan regular breaks, with the timing being good for the youngest child. Make sure they use the potty too! Taking "but I don't need to go potty" for an answer is sure to make you pull over at the very next stop. Kids are great that way.

4. Take It Easy

It's amazingly easy to be overstressed when you travel. Don't make your schedule too tight. Allow for unplanned exploration and relaxation. You shouldn't need a vacation from your vacation.
About the Author
Stephanie Foster blogs at http://www.homewiththekids.com/blog/ about being a work at home mom. She offers more parenting tips for stay at home moms at her site.
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