How to make the best of a road trip with stuffed animals

How to make the best of a road trip with stuffed animalsRoad trips can be quite challenging for parents with small kids. A little extra preparation and stuffed animals can help you make the best of it.

There are a few simple tips you can use when preparing for a road trip and during one. Pamela Hayford is a mother of two and editor of Southwest Florida Parent & Child magazine and reveals these tips.

For a start, involve the kids in the process. Include them in the decision of choosing the place to travel to. Or at the least make them feel part of the process. And when the destination is pre-set, for example, a visit to relatives, then include the kids into the actual process of the trip planning.

This way they are likely to be move interested in engaged in the whole process. Also allow them to pick, or at least to help you pick rest stops and so on.

Time for a road trip!

The next step is the actual trip. Prepare well for it. You can give the kids a paper map and involve them in the preparation of the route which you can mark with a highlighter. This way you can give them their first steps in geography. And this is also where the stuffed animals come in. You can ask your kids to mark the route so they can show it to their favorite stuffed animal(s) that will come along with them.

Next, it’s time for packing. This is where you have to be extra careful. Most kids would want to bring as many stuff and toys they can. Instead, make it a game where only the things that can fit into one backpack for each child can go. Of course, an exception can be made for the favorite stuffed animal or teddy bear which can ride along. But it has to be a stuffie that the child can carry herself or himself.

As you travel, you can point out interesting sites and stop at them if there’s time. Stuffed animals can also be used as a way to teach kids about these sites. After all stuffies always want to learn interesting stuff, right?

Also, don’t forget rest stops. Depending on the distance, you might want to stop for 15 minutes every two hours or so. Some kids might want more frequent rest stops, so ask them. Choose rest stops with a lot of space where the kids can run and play around for a bit. And bring along snacks, some fruits and water. Avoid fizzy drinks as they won’t hydrate properly.

If all is well, after an eventful and playful stop, the kids will be tired and they can take a nap in the car as you continue to travel. This is where the stuffed animal will once again be of great use. It can act as a pillow or simply a sleeping companion.

But the best tip is to make it a family event. Talk, play around, have fun. Use the time to connect and be close. Avoid simply allowing your kids to dive into their phones or tablets the entire time. But instead of limiting their screen time, try to make it so that they don’t even think of it because the other activities are more fun.