The holidays are upon us and I find myself surrounded by the chaos that is holiday traveling with kids.
Our bags are packed for our adventure and excitement is in the air. You know the excitement? The kind that prevents you and your children from sleeping all night long. It is akin to the excitement of Christmas Eve. Except you know that ten minutes after departure you will hear the dreaded phrase…”Are we there yet?”
I cringe at the thought of spending five to six hours with the constant bombardments of, “I gotta potty,” and of course the loathsome, “I’m bored!” Come on mama’s, you know what I’m talking about. Add to that both children are under 10 and one is under 5 and you can imagine my peril. How do you keep that excitement and joy even on a long trip? My advice to you…remember to bring audio books and a big travel mug of patience.
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Traveling with Kids
You definitely need to plan ahead mama. I know you have loads on your plate already, but a little bit of planning could save you tons of travel misery. After all, we want to keep that excitement and joy even while traveling.
I always try to pack light, but somehow we always seem to manage to fill our vehicle with everything but the kitchen sink! The main items we took on our last trip were Audio Books, Sketch Pads, Markers and Picture Books!
We adore audio books! Two years ago while travelling back and forth to the farm, we discovered Audible. Our son selected his favorite book, The Hobbit, and listened to it our entire trip. I was amazed! Even after our traveling was over, he still wanted to sit, build Lego’s, or draw while listening to audio books! Thus, our love of audio books was born. Afterwards, our son wanted to dive into The Lord of the Rings Trilogy.
We have since listened to some outstanding audio books. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was a particular favorite and kept both children captivated on our travels last year. It is wonderfully narrated and even though we have read the books, this audible version kept the children enchanted for hours at a time. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe was another audio book that kept the children enraptured. A particular favorite of our four year old daughter has been Charlotte’s Web, although she maintains that “Wilbur” is not a handsome name for a pig.
Our current audio book is The Green Ember! This book has hooked us all from the start. Even I have been on the edge of my seat, heart racing, wondering if these little rabbits could possibly make it! It is such a thrilling adventure book that we even went ahead and picked up the next two books in the series: Ember Falls, and The Black Star of Kingston! We all look forward to continuing the adventures of Heather and Pickett during our car ride this holiday.
Coloring Books, and Sketch Pads
Coloring books and Sketch pads are a must when travel with kiddos. Even with the audio books going, they still need to keep their hands busy. Our son prefers Extreme Coloring books that also provide item searches. Our daughter loves her Disney princess coloring books or a plain old sketch pad…provided she has plenty of markers.
Books are a big plus on our road trips, especially for our four year old daughter. Picture books are a wonderful resource as they provide the gorgeous illustrations that inspire her to draw in her sketch book. Among her favorites are: books by Bill Peet like No Such Things, books by David Ezra Stein like Tad and Dad, and books by Andrea Beaty like Ada Twist, Scientist!
A Big Travel Mug of Patience
Now mama, let’s talk about that patience. It’s so easy for us to get completely overwhelmed with all of the packing and preparations. You keep remembering something you’ve forgotten and running back to the house to retrieve it. Perhaps hubby is fussing about how the vehicle won’t hold anymore? I know I can get stressed and end up with a short fuse. This doesn’t help the children or hubby, or I to have an enjoyable trip.
I’ve found that I do best when I keep in mind to be gentle with myself and everyone around me. The world will not come crashing to an end if we don’t manage to leave at the pre-set time. I promise! Your destination will not magically disappear if the children need to go potty for the 500th time before you even pull out of the driveway. It will all still be there whether you arrive later than expected or not.
Now that we’ve taken the pressure off and you can breath a little easier, lets talk about that big travel mug of patience. I don’t know about you, but I travel much better when I have a few items of my own. A big travel mug filled with my favorite beverage for starters. I also travel best with an extra sweater, because I tend to run cold. How about you? What makes traveling with kids easier for you?