For many of us, having kids is one of life’s greatest gifts, an amazing life-long adventure and a big challenge. It transforms you and it helps you become a better version of yourself – selfless, caring, and determined. To me and so many other parents, children are these fresh, incredible beings, and seeing life through their eyes makes you more aware of the wonders that surround you.
It’s true that raising children isn’t simple. They don’t come with a handbook and sometimes you don’t know how to be this great parent you’ve always wanted to be.
I’m a single mom and sometimes I had a hard time figuring out how to be super-mom. But I learned that you don’t have to be a superhero to be the parent your kids need. Patience and an open heart will be great companions to your unconditional love for them.
Everything we choose to do with our children has to be well-thought and it has to help maintain a healthy balance. Take road trips, for example. This could be a very challenging experience, that requires a lot of planning and a lot of being prepared for well, pretty much anything. Here are a few things that will help you create a wonderful experience for you and your kids:
Set the ground rules
Whenever I and my kids go somewhere, we always talk about it in advance. After the giggling subsides (because everybody is happy about our future adventure), we have a serious talk about what is OK and what isn’t allowed to do on road trip. It’s important to talk to them in a way they can relate to, to make them listen to you and understand why these rules are important. We talk about who gets to sit where, what activities are okay to do in a moving car and how important it is to be nice to each other. Also, I tell them interesting things about what we’ll do and the place we’re going.
Pack smart and bring a lot of snacks
When it comes to packing, you basically have to think about any possible scenario. After you make sure you have all the essentials with you, add some rain coats, hats, a change of clothes, extra diapers, jackets, towels and everything else you may think necessary. A long road means that they will get hungry a lot, so pack some of their favorite snacks and also healthy ones like fruit, banana chips or grain cereal to make them less fussy.
Make sure everything is safe and functioning
Safety always comes first, so make sure that there is absolutely nothing wrong with your car and that you have car safety equipment. Check the seat belts and make sure the child’s car seat is properly installed. Always have a first aid kit that has all the important items, pack a lot of water and don’t forget to charge your phone and to bring your charger. Of course, you shouldn’t drive if you’re tired, try to be well-rested and ready for the road. This will also help you be more energetic and it lowers your stress levels, we know that the way we feel affects our children, that’s why it’s important to stay positive and enjoy the trip.
Plan thoroughly and stop often
Even though it’s impossible to predict any little thing that could change your schedule, it’s important to have a realistic plan. Try to incorporate your children’s routine into your driving schedule, making stops for lunch or simply to stretch your legs. You could also stop and have a picnic in the backseat if they’re hungry and you’re too far away from the scheduled stop.
Let the fun begin
Fun is something they can experience even before you reach your destination. Keeping them engaged in activities and games, can help decrease crankiness and pouting. A car full of screaming children isn’t a lot of fun, that’s why you should be prepared. Bring their favorite tunes or sing songs together, play guessing games or engage them in a conversation about how your destination will be one filled with adventures and mysteries. Every family is different, for example, I like to tell them stories that include the toys they like, their friends and themselves.
No matter the destination, having a road trip with your kids can be an unforgettable experience that is certainly going to strengthen your bond with them. If you prepare wisely, you can create a fun and memorable trip for you and your children, something that will make you connect as a family and have a lot of fun together.