Road trips can be trying on the best of travelers, let alone a young child. I don’t enjoy being confined to my seat for several hours at a time and I can imagine how frustrating it is for small children, especially when they are too young to gauge time and aren’t amused by the passing view. They just want to get to where you’re going! These road trip tips aren’t just about the journey or the car ride, but are helpful ideas for what to do at the stops along the way that will minimize meltdowns and frustration.
What We Learned Along The Way
Several years ago my husband and I took our two kids (then both 6 years old) on a road trip up the coast of California. It was a week-long adventure that included stops for an Easter egg hunt in Pismo Beach, a hike through Big Sur, a day at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a visit to family in snowy Reno, Nevada. We would be in the car for several hours at a time and had scheduled plenty of stops along the way for the kids to get out and stretch their legs.Road Trip Tips for Traveling with Young Children
What we didn’t bargain for was the challenge of taking a special needs child. While both children chatted in the backseat, snacked, played with toys we’d brought along and napped while the car was moving, it was the in-between transitions that we had the most trouble with. The disruption to the usual routine, the unfamiliar foods and the strange places and faces are what really threw off my stepdaughter (who has autism).
Each stop along the way brought trepidation and tears and looking back. I was see there were things we could have done to make the trip so much smoother. So here are my top eight tips for road tripping with young kids (especially helpful with special needs children).
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