We have all been there, you have just a short trip and no one wants to go. You force them into their car seats and strap them down, they scream the whole way and you are about ready to lose your sanity. Or maybe you are potty training and forgot the extra change of clothes… now you have a soggy mess of a child and are nowhere near home. Or you decided to stay a for a last minute meeting, but you have nothing to entertain the kids. These are all incidents that happen fairly regularly, we can do some planning to help it go a little more smoothly.
Prepping the Car
Every vehicle is different, ours is awesome for the fact that we have empty storage areas in the floor behind the drivers and passenger seats. If you do not have a similar storage area, I would suggest keeping a zipped bag in the trunk or some out of the way place. In this storage goes things that we would need regularly, but do not always need. I have diapers, wipes, a change of clothes for the middle sized child (the younger one can also fit them), and an “activity bag”. These are for times when I forgot to bring a diaper or we had an unplanned “event”.
The Book Box
Books are AMAZING for car rides. We used to have a “Car Book Box”, now we have a “Car Book Bag” that hangs from the headrest between my children’s seats. In the book box or book bag, are books for the children to read while we drive around town. Generally, the books that belong in the car are books that the kids love, but I don’t, or books I have duplicates of or don’t mind losing. The rule is, if you want a book, you have to pick it out before getting in your seat (the book box was impossible to reach from their seat). I cannot tell you the number of times I look in my rear-view mirror and see all the kids looking at a book–it is peaceful bliss!
The Car Bag
At a recent MOPS meeting, a professional organizer came to speak. She shared a BRILLANT idea! The car bag. The car bag is now an essential part of our travel preparations (even just to the library and back). Our bag looks similar to this (any large bag will do):
This bag sits in our mudroom where all our coats, shoes, hats etc. are. When we are packing to go somewhere the kids and I load up “the car bag” with whatever we need (i.e. water bottles, toys, books, crayons, soccer ball, shoes etc.). In the bag there are also rolled up plastic bags, these serve as garbage bags for in the car, bags for dirty clothes etc. When the trip is over and we are headed back in, anything in the car that goes inside is put in the car bag to make the trip in. The car bag has helped keep my car clean, tidy, and I no longer loose (as many) hats, coats, socks, shoes etc.
Hopefully, this gives you one or more ideas to make your car riding a little smoother with those little people!