More than ten years ago, my dad drove me towards a car dealership in hopes of snagging a car to get me to and from high school. From almost a mile away, I spotted the car of my dreams – a gold/green Kia Rio. The color was officially gold, but as anyone may tell you, it was baby poop green and I loved it. It was the exact color that my mom had just told my dad the day before that I was not allowed to get. An hour later, I drove off the lot in my newest baby. From the beginning, my Kia was reliable and it last me almost ten years. It was the car we had when we started our family. It was the car I cruised around in when I began my venture as a mostly-stay-at home mother. That car was truly like a member of our family and I was sad to see her go!
Around the time I got my car, my boyfriend then (now husband) had a 1980-something car implode on him about a week before Valentine’s Day. He was overwhelmed with having to get a new car, but seeing how much I loved mine and just how economical it was, he purchased the exact same vehicle in blue. Weren’t we adorable matching lovebirds? Just one week later, that boyfriend asked me to marry him on top of the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier. As I gazed at the new addition to my ring finger, I realized just why he had been sweating so much at the prospect of buying a new car.
When his car neared its ten-year expiration date, our family had expanded to four and we had two small boys. Some investigation on my husband’s party and he surprised me with the hamster-dancing car, the Kia Soul. With a fold-down backseat, this car provides the room for growing boy legs and also allows you to bring home that huge garage sale find without needing a trailer. Knowing this would be our family car for a long while, I decided to start planning some future vacations and our very first Road Trip was an-hour excursion to Mackinac Island with a newly potty-trained 2.5 year old and a 8 month old in tow. Here are some suggestions for how to survive a road trip with little ones:
1. Pack Snacks
Whether you take the time to sort and bag snacks or simply grab some of your kids’ favorites, always make sure you have plenty to eat at your disposal. This helps to get you from stop to stop without the need to constantly find a place to munch. I also find that the promise of their favorite treat helps to encourage some good behavior when things seem to get heated in the car!
2. Utilize a travel DVD player
On our Mackinac trip, this was a LIFEsaver! A children’s movie that Charlie hadn’t seen always kept his attention for a long while and this worked especially well when other things like playing and interacting with him just wouldn’t cut it. If you don’t have one in the car you own, I definitely suggest getting one.
Whether you sing their favorite songs or you pick up their favorite CDs, have music at the ready (and ear plugs for yourself!) I can only listen to Wheels on the Bus so long, but my boys always seemed so delighted at the 1,000th rendition. The right music can also help set the mood for nap time or sunshine dozing.
4. Felt or magnet boards
Create scenes utilizing felt or cut magnets of their favorite people. Use a cookie sheet to mount the scenes and this is the perfect size for little laps! They will have fun using their imagination to create new scenes, interactive play, and provide something new to play with!
5. Be flexible.
Especially with Charlie being freshly potty-trained, we knew that we would potentially need to stop much more often than we planned. Being flexible meant that while it may have taken us longer to get somewhere, the kids (and we!) were much happier and content. The ability to go with the flow (pun intended) provided a much more relaxed trip!
We have LOVED all of our Kia cars and would not hesitate to get another one. My parents actually purchased their own Kia Sedona to cart around the grandkids and have a roomier space when traveling. Which Kia model is your favorite?
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.