On the Road Again! This Mom’s Tips for Peaceful Driving

You know what’s hard about living far from family? The road trips to go visit my family. I mean, other than being apart from my family…minivan full of family members

I just took my boys to visit grandparents for spring break, but this coming weekend, my husband’s family celebrates their 130th consecutive Seder in Philadelphia. We do everything we can to make it out for this every year, even if it’s hard. The boys are pretty good troopers about it all.

Since this is about my 10th road trip since having 3 boys, I feel like I’ve got it all down to a system, even the nursing breaks:

  • We leave in the morning. My boys don’t do well driving at night. They get agitated, and they don’t sleep well in new beds if we swoop them in when it’s already nighttime. Maybe your kids do better with the opposite strategy?
  • We start with books on tape. The boys are loving¬†The Fantastic Mr. Fox¬†by Roald Dahl. I worried it would be too scary for them, but their love for Beatrix Potter has shown me that kids can do gory. They even sort of like it!
  • I bribe with food. If they cooperate at the rest stop while everyone pees, they get to pick a treat from Starbucks while Mom buys a coffee. Then…
  • They eat their treat inside the van while I nurse the baby in there. It’s just so much easier to keep everyone alive this way. Plus, I care less when my 8-month old pops off to look around and leaves my nipple exposed to the world.
  • I just know in advance the return journey will be the worst part. They’re all tired, they want to be home. They’re sick of the car. We stop more en route home and we shout and fight more, too. I might save a special treat for the last leg of the trip this time.
  • We use the pet area for running off steam. So far, we’ve only stepped in dog poo once in my 6 years of doing this. When the weather is fair, it’s just so nice to have space for the big boys to run around while I’m nursing the littlest guy

Have you taken a lot of long trips with multiple kids? Leave us a comment to share your best tips for a smooth journey.

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