How to Keep Your Sanity During a Family Vacation

Whose good idea was it to bring two toddlers and a tween on a family vacation? Oh, that’s right it was yours. The day of departure is upon you, and your palms are getting sweaty, but it’s too late to turn back now. You’re in this for better or worse, so let’s do what we can to make it for the better. In the end, you may walk away with some semblance of sanity and a bunch of great family memories.

Here are some tips to help you keep your cool during a family vacation:

Arrive prepared

You know your kids better than anyone, and that means you also know their triggers. Do what you can to keep them busy and entertained during the trip, so you don’t have any unnecessary meltdowns.

Here are some general ideas to help you prepare:

  1. Bring snacks – Bring more snacks than you think you’ll need. In this case, it’s better to have too much than not enough.
  2. Plan activities – Your older kids may roll their eyes, but let them. When you play road trip games like eye spy and punch buggy, it’ll make the trip go faster. You can even play most road trip games on an airplane or train. For the younger kids, bring activities like coloring books and crayons. Electronic devices will keep everyone happy. You’ll just have to decide how much screen time is acceptable.
  3. Get organized – Use a bag system or back seat organizer to hold all of the kids’ activities and snacks. This way, they’ll be able to grab what they need, and you won’t find yourself rummaging around in the back seat.

Avoid distractions

If your vehicle has a navigation system, use it. If not, you can use your smartphone. Either way, be sure to use navigation with voice commands. This way, you won’t have to take your eyes off the road. And even if you think you know where you’re going, your GPS can help you avoid missed turns that cause stress and delays.

Remain calm

Even with the best plans, things will go wrong. Kids may get grumpy, or you may go in the wrong direction. But if you let things get to you, you’re probably going to take your frustrations out on someone else. This can lead to tension within the car and even a dangerous bout of road rage.

Learn some stress-management techniques and rely on whatever technology you have to get you through the incident. For example, some noise-blocking headphones can really help you reset when a child is having a “moment.” A happy and un-distracted driver is the best road rage deterrent you can find.

Traveling with the entire family can present many challenges, but it can also be an amazing bonding experience for everyone there. These are the moments your children remember and try to recreate with their own kids when they’re older.

Do you have any tips for keeping your sanity during a road trip?

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