We’re about to move across the state.
It’s about 6 hours away…
With kids, that means it’s about 247 hours away…
And we’re making that trip right after Christmas this year with all five of our kids, in our little SUV, with all of the stuff we’ll need for over a week.
Are we crazy? Maybe a little… But luckily I’ve come up with these 5 ways to survive long car trips with kids!
*Note, I received these headphones for free to try out with my family. I wasn’t compensated in any other way, and all thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. Please see my full disclosure for details.
5 Super Simple Ways to Survive Long Car Trips With Kids
See, I love being in the car. It’s one of my very favorite things.
*note, not driving, but riding.
My kids, though? It’s not their favorite.
“ARE WE THERE YET?”
“MISS S IS TOUCHING MY CAR SEAT!”
“ANNNNNNNNAAAAAAAA MOOOOORE AAAAAAAAANNNNAAAAAAA!” (For the record, “Ana” is the Moana soundtrack.)
It’s not exactly a recipe for a relaxing car ride… So these five tips are vital to survive long car rides with kids!
Pack the Car for Comfort
I know it’s tempting (especially if you are packing for a move) to pack the car as full as you possibly can.
Don’t do this!
You want everyone to be as comfortable as possible during long car rides. That means everyone needs enough foot room and breathing room!
Beyond that, I always try to pack a blanket for each person in the car (even me!) and we keep the car at a mild temperature.
It’s a lot easier for the kids that are always cold to snuggle in their blankies than it is for the people who always run hot to try to stay cool in a car with the heat cranked!
Arrange Your Car Seats Strategically
If you’ve got multiple kids in car seats like we do, you want to place them in the car strategically.
See, we have five in car seats. Mr. C and A-Man are both in boosters, Cap’n M is in a forward-facing convertible, and Miss S and Sweet C are both in rear-facing convertibles.
We have an SUV with a third row. So there’s a lot to consider.
We need the third row to have kids that can help buckle/unbuckle themselves. Because this mama doesn’t climb that far back, and Chris needs to be able to get them safely buckled.
Beyond that, we want to make sure that Mr. C is placed in the best possible spot. Why? Because he’s the best helper.
Miss S losing her mind because she can’t push the button on her Belle doll? Mr. C to the rescue.
We can’t hear Cap’n M well enough to hear what he’s saying? Mr. C’s a translator-extraordinaire.
So for our big trip, we’ve got A-Man and Mr. C in the third row (with a space between them, because these two can FIGHT!)
Then we’ve got Miss S, Sweet C, and Mr. C across the middle row.
Mr. C can hear his brothers, reach things for Miss S, and reach to help Sweet C with her binky! Plus he’s on an end so we can get him out quickly for potty trips (He’s the only one currently potty trained).
Always Bring Extra Snacks
Always. Bring. Extra. Snacks.
Always. Always. Always.
Think about how many snacks you might need.
Now add one more snack.
Okay, maybe you now have enough snacks.
Maybe it’s just our family, but everyone is way happier when they’re very well fed.
Did I mention you should bring extra snacks?
Pack the Headphones (You’ll Thank Me!)
Miss S screams her head off in the car if anything besides “ANA” is playing.
Cap’n M is obsessed with Octonauts and his heart breaks if anything else is playing.
A-Man is still totally obsessed with Trolls, and he wants to listen to that.
Mr. C? He’s our easy kiddo, so he just wants to talk the entire trip, but he can’t because the other three have music going.
But now? Each kid has these awesome kid-safe headphones!
They’re super cute, and they have a volume control to protect the kids’ ears.
With this, each kid can watch their own movie, listen to their own soundtrack, or play their own game without disturbing the others.
Plan for More Stops Than You Think
Always plan more stops than you think you’ll need.
We’re going 6 hours, and it would be really easy to think we could stop once. Halfway through (once we cross the mountains, probably) so that we can all stretch our legs and go potty.
I’ll have to stop more than that to nurse the baby.
Mr. C *will* need an emergency potty stop at some point.
Probably about 4 hours in I’ll demand to stop for another hot cocoa.
When we’re a half hour from our destination Mr. C will need to go potty again and he just WON’T be able to wait.
Miss S will lose her mind at some point and need more help than we can do from the front seat (even with Mr. C helping too).
The point is, we’ll have to stop over and over and over again.
You probably will too.
So just plan for it. It will make you a little less annoyed. I promise.
What am I missing? What are your top tips for surviving long car trips with kids?