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SUCCESSFUL ROAD TRIPS WITH YOUNG CHILDREN
By Professional Organiser Amy Kennedy – The Organising Bee
Travelling by its nature is unpredictable. There are many factors outside of our control – unexpected delays, roadworks or detours can impact the length of our journey. If you add in the unpredictable nature of a tired, bored or hungry child it can be exhausting and emotionally draining for all involved, particularly on a long distance or interstate road trip.
When travelling with young kids, it is more important than ever to be prepared and organised. Amy Kennedy, mother of 3 children and Professional Home Organiser from The Organising Bee shares her 5 top tips for a smoother and less stressful road trip for both children and parents.
HAVE A PLAN TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN ENTERTAINED
To help prevent boredom in the car which can often lead to a temper tantrum, I suggest packing a small activity pack for each child. In the pack, include a selection of little age appropriate toys and activities that are new to your child that you know they will enjoy (not their old favourites).
You want to include toys that will engage your child for a long period of time and promote quiet independent play. Sticker and activity books, magnetic story tins, large threading beads or colouring-in books with crayons or pencils are all good options. You want to avoid toys with lots of small parts that they can accidentally drop and loose in the footwell of the car.
Family games like I Spy, Spotto or Car Cricket can also be good tools to keep the kids entertained. Depending on the age of your child and your family’s preferences, you may wish to include a tablet or similar electronic devise in the activity pack, storing the charger and cables separately in Cable & Charger Organiser Bags to prevent damage.
A child’s hunger very rarely aligns with our travel schedule. Help allay the “I’m hungry, are we there yet” scenario, pre-preparing a range of healthy bite-size snacks is essential to keep their energy going and ‘hangry’ at bay. Even a small bag of lollies which they may not ordinarily have the opportunity to eat may help make the trip feel special.
Carsickness and toilet breaks are going to be inevitable when travelling with young kids and often do not align with roadside rest stops. To ensure that you are equipped for any emergency from a toilet stop to car sickness, I advise packing an emergency pack.
In a waterproof bag in an area of the car that is easy to reach pack a range of toileting and quick cleaning supplies, including a bottle of water, some nappy bags or scented garbage bags, antibacterial wipes, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, tissues, travel medicine kit, some spare underwear and depending on the age of your child a potty.
In the side pocket of each door of the car, include a disposable vomit bag which is available from a chemist. It may even be useful to include a change of clothes for you and your children in the event of a vomiting child and an air freshener like the DampRid Odour Genie 226g Lavender Vanilla couldn’t go astray.
TAKE LONG AND REGULAR REST AND PLAY BREAKS
It’s not quite as easy to do just a quick driver change over and keep going when travelling with children. As an adult, it’s a natural instinct to want to get moving and back on the road quickly after a pit stop, however, children really need to get out the car and stretch their legs and let out all of their energy. From my own experience, if you give your child full a good half an hour of energetic play where they can run around and really get all of the energy out they are more likely to be calm and relaxed (and less likely to antagonize their siblings) making the next leg of the trip easier. Why not stretch out on a Sunnylife Picnic Blanket whilst your kids play? If travelling interstate, it might be worthwhile of changing the time of day in which you travel, for example leaving just before dawn, so the majority of your travel time is during your children’s normal sleeping hours.
PRE-PLAN YOUR CHILDRENS OUTFIT CHOICES
When arriving at your destination, it is especially hard for children to keep their luggage tidy. If you prepack and separate each outfit by day in separate zip lock pouch like the Globite Travel Compression Bags Pack of 4 Small – Clear and label each bag by day, then pack each child’s clothing into a separate packing cube like the Sea to Summit Garment Mesh Bag Medium Black or Globite Packing Organisation Travel Cubes Set of 3 – Multi, you can prevent your child rummaging through the bag to find what to wear each day. They simply need to find the bag labelled with the appropriate day and the remainder of the clothing can stay neatly folded.
Travelling with children is never going to be a walk in the park, but these small tips can make the journey more enjoyable and less stressful for all. You can also apply these same principles next time you catch a flight.
Amy Kennedy is a Professional Home Organiser and founder of The Organising Bee based in Canberra. The Organising Bee has been awarded the Best of Houzz Award for Service for the past 4 years (2017-2020) and is a Professional Member of the Institute of Professional Organisers (IOPO) and the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO).