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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 successful road trips. If you add in the unpredictable nature of a tired, bored or hungry child it can be exhausting and emotionally draining.
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 a less stressful holiday for successful road trips.
HAVE A PLAN TO KEEP YOUR CHILDREN ENTERTAINED
To help entertain kids on successful road trips, I suggest packing a small activity pack for each child. In the pack, include a selection of age appropriate toys and activities that are new to your child that you know they will enjoy.
I advice you to include toys that will engage your child for long periods 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 lose 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 device. Chargers and cables can be stored in a Cable & Charger Organiser Bag to prevent damage.
A child’s hunger very rarely aligns with your travel schedule. The “I’m hungry, are we there yet” scenario is imminent. Even a small bag of lollies which they may not ordinarily have the opportunity to eat may help make these successful road trips exciting.
Car sickness and toilet breaks are inevitable when travelling with young kids and often do not align with roadside rest stops. Moreover, to ensure that you are equipped for any emergency from a toilet stop to car sickness, I advise packing an emergency pack.
I recommend a range of items to be placed in a waterproof bag in an easy to reach area of the car. 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. Moreover, 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. Therefore, give your child a good half an hour of energetic play where they can run around and really get all of the energy out. In addition, they will be more likely to be calm and relaxed, making the next leg of the trip easier.
If travelling interstate, it might be worthwhile 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. Prepacking and separating each outfit by day in separate zip lock pouches like the Globite Packing Organisation Travel Cubes works well. In addition, pack each child’s clothing into a separate packing cube like the Sea to Summit Garment Mesh Bag. Furthermore. this 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).