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Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh We're Goin' For a Ride.....

We just finished a ten hour car drive to the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I don't know about you, but I don't like being in a car that long--imagine your preschooler. Sitting still in a seat for that amount of time is like being in prison to them--it's hard. Oh, and then if your lucky enough(Ha), just as your preschooler is about to go crazy, you say, "Just about 20 more minutes," you round the corner and boom, your in a traffic jam for an hour.

Traveling with a preschooler can be extremely difficult. I must say I have been very lucky--only one of my children HATED the car and we've gotten past that now. Imagine, 10 hours, 7 of us in a Chevy Venture minivan, ages 44, 43, 20, 16, 12, 9, and 4, five bikes on the hitch in the back, two carriers strapped to the roof, and every possible free space inside the van stuffed with something. My husband said we looked like the Clampetts on their way to Beverly Hills--felt like it to.

There are a few things I do to try to make the ride easier for my preschooler. First and foremost, you need snacks. We like goldfish in our car and always the ever present "sippy" cup filled with juice. But, beware you have to be ready for a potty break in the blink of an eye. I have one son that when he says, "I have to go potty," you have no more than five minutes, or your in trouble. I do try to keep some type of container in the car for such an emergency.

Secondly, I always let me children pack a toy bag. I give them a Ziploc bag and allow them to fill it with a few personal items. This year we traveled with lots of Hot Wheels and dinosaurs. Sometimes these toys get played with on the way down, sometimes they never see the light of day, but at least you know you have them if you need them.

Third, I have a backpack that is filled with kid friendly items--we have crayons and markers, coloring books, blank paper, some sticker activity books and some general reading books. These are always helpful to fill some time. I have in previous years also brought along a Magna Doodle or Etch-a-Sketch. Anything that could be helpful to while away the time.

Fourth, I'm not a huge fan of the car entertainment centers--I feel they are used way too casually in today's society. To me, there is no need to have to have a DVD on to go to the grocery story. But, on the other hand an entertainment center on a ten hour drive can be extremely helpful. We usually watch about two movies during the whole drive. I don't feel the need to have it on the whole time, but if nothing else works, it's time for a movie.

Finally, I always have the pillow and "blankey." Any type of security object is great in the car. It's soothing for them and can be soothing for you.

Will all these things guarantee a peaceful journey? Can't say that!! But, at least you have some avenues to help occupy the time of your trip.

Have a great one!

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