Saturday, May 19, 2012

How to Survive a Road Trip with Preschoolers

Today, we're headed to Mobile for our girls' first overnight stay in their new town.  Four days and three nights of important first impressions: the girls' first impression of Mobile, and the church's first impression of our girls.

They are two and four.
On a road trip.
Sleeping in a hotel.
Off of any semblance of schedule.
Attending new church childcare.
Being approached by endless unfamiliar faces.

Any parents out there feel me?  It's more the recipe for tantrums, breakdowns, and parental embarrassment... not cordial first meetings.

But have no fear, I am equipped!

How to Survive a Road Trip with Preschoolers

(What to Pack)

I love the Target dollar bins.  I found two miniature clip boards and similar sized flower paper for coloring in the car, as well as stickers.  (Truth be told, I am okay with my girls whining in boredom on our car ride to Mobile.  As long as no one is around to judge us.  Coloring supplies are more likely to make their debut during our Sunday afternoon lunch with the Staff-Parish Relations committee.  Important lunches seem to always fall during nap time.)

Speaking of coloring, have you used Crayola's Color Wonder paper and markers?  They bypass two major travel pitfalls:

  1. Crayons melting in a hot car
  2. Marks on clothes
They ink shows up clear unless it is on special Color Wonder paper.  Genius.

My girls drink NONSTOP.  They typically drink milk.  During a Christmas road trip, we lost track of which sippy cup had  the freshest milk.  We found ourselves at a gas station cleaning up vomit and bathing Amelia in the sink.  No more milk on road trips.

Juice boxes are great because they're relatively clear, (think no stains,) and don't need refrigeration, which we may not have in the hotel.  l I also grabbed a couple of cheap Disney cups so they girls would be pumped to drink water at the hotel. 

Like I said, the girls won't know these items exist until the moment they use them.  Novelty will keep them happy.

Food purists, hide your eyes.  Few of the foods above are organic.
All of the items pictured share three common denominators: my girls love them, they stay fresh at room temperature in a hotel, and they won't stain clothes.  Hungry children are cranky children, so I am coming prepared.

I will probably keep the almonds and raisins visible in the hotel room.  If my girls are hungry, they can ask for these healthier options first.  They will not know that I've also packed sandwich baggies full of Cheerios, Goldfish, and gummy bears until the situation is desperate and they're in those pudgy, precious hands.

Sure, Easy Mac isn't healthy, but the peaches!  Look at the peaches! It balances things out, right?

Once again, my girls won't know the Easy Mac exists unless we become desperate for them to have hot, filling food and STAT! (As if I don't feed it to them all of the time, *cough, cough*.)

Unlike my other choices, peaches and Easy Mac can get clothes dirty.  You can't win it all.  Bananas might be another good option.

For when clothes and kids do get dirty, antibacterial wipes and Shout wipes.

Okay, I won't get more ready than this...
Load the car.  :)
And wish us luck for our first family weekend in our new town and at our new church!


Happy Kid City said...

Sounds like you are well prepared for the trip. One of the things I do for my kids on long trips is gather up some inexpensive prizes and wrap them in gift wrapping. If they make it a certain number of miles or a specified length of time without fussing, they get to open a prize. They really look forward to them and will actually work together as a team to make sure they earn the prize.

RACHEL said...

That's a great tip! I'll remember it for our trip next weekend. Any advice on what the gifts should be?