Going on a long road trip with just the family is a wonderful way to get in some time with the family while exploring new places. The thought is beautiful, but let's break it down to the nitty-gritty. At some point, your children will get hungry, at another, bored. An hour into the trip, they may grow restless, another hour after that, hungry again. At some point, somewhere during the trip, your children will get really cranky about being stuck in the car with you and even crankier (if you have more than one child) about being stuck in the car with each other.
Here's where you step in. Not all heroes wear capes. Some come equipped with packed snack boxes and a tablet loaded with a film your child hasn't seen before. Be that parent.
Sugary and crispy snacks may feel like they're your only option, but spend a little time planning ahead when it comes to food. Hunger induced crankiness can spiral into a full blown tantrum quite easily. Keep sandwiches handy, slathered with their favourite spread or a simple slice of cheese. They're fairly inexpensive to make and last well in the heat. Batons of their favourite veggies filled into a bag make for good munching before pit stops. You can straddle the line between healthy and junk food by packing a couple (only a couple) of their favourite candy bars. Try and pack a cooler filled with bottles of lemonade and water, if you can manage.
Road trips can become exhausting for both children and parents at some point in time. The car is a confined space where every grumble, whine and sigh is very audible. Take regular (planned) pit stops from time to time to get some fresh air and to stretch your legs. Plan your route well ahead of time to account for the different spots you can take a break. If paced out well, the sense of cabin fever while being trapped in the car with the kids will go down.
Last, but definitely not the least, plan more activities than you would deem necessary. Children skip from one planned activity to another, based on their mood and inclination. They may want to involve you in some activities while leaving you and their sibling out of others. Movies loaded on to tablets, audio books, activity boxes that are car friendly.. the options are limitless.
Remember, you planned for this road trip to be a fun one.