Make Road Trips With Kids Easier With This Planning Tip

Road trips can create fond memories that can turn into nostalgia. There's something sweet about looking back and remembering these ventures, especially the ones from childhood when you stared out the window in awe of the sweeping landscapes whizzing by, or were occupied with your favorite toys. Or maybe you passed out as a kid on a road trip and remember the disorientation of waking up in an entirely new location. Whatever your history, it's lovely to create similar memories for your children.

With that being said, road trips are not always the romanticized scenario we hope for. When you're road tripping with toddlers, or children of any age for that matter, frequent bathroom breaks, fighting siblings, and the incessant question of "Are we there yet?" are also parts of the adventure.

If your kids tend to doze off, it can ease some of the stress of the car ride — but it can also create more stress when it comes to bedtime later that night. If you time it right however, you can preserve their sleep schedule and avoid grumpiness, whether you're driving during the day or at night.

Avoiding grumpiness

If you have a drive that won't last the entire day, leaving early might be the key to having your kids nap on the drive and also get to sleep at night. "I'm the father of two girls, aged three and five," a dad interviewed by Fatherly explained. "[...] We always make it our aim to leave for a road trip between 9 and 10 in the morning. That way we know they'll sleep for a decent portion of the trip, while at the same time not ruin their evening routine." He went on to share how this method is beneficial because his children are well rested when they arrive at their destination, and this helps avoid any meltdowns and crabbiness.

When it comes down to hitting the road and traveling with young children, the earlier you go, the better. If the kids aren't used to being up early, they could be a little bit grumpy in the beginning, but they'll be able to catch up on sleep during the drive.

Preserving the kids' sleep schedule

Alternatively, you can plan for an evening road trip. After your kids are full from dinner — a hearty meal with protein can help them sleep better — you can pack the car and buckle them in. Share some bedtime stories as you drive off into the night and watch as they doze off, hopefully for the night's entirety. You can also use these tips to get them to sleep if you're heading off in the morning.

If you're stuck with leaving in the afternoon, you might want to keep your kids awake so they can easily fall asleep at night. You can do this by introducing activities to stimulate their minds. Play different road-trip games (like "I spy"), put on some of their favorite songs and sing along with them, or offer them toys to enjoy. Whatever you choose, engaging your kids is a sure way to keep them awake until arrival and bedtime.