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Email us at show@momseveryday.com. In this example, MomsEveryday's Nikki Bates talks with KOLN's Taryn Vanderford about keeping kids occupied (and safe) during long holiday road trips.

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Is your family travelling for the holidays? Here are some tips to make road trips with kids more bearable:

Before you set foot in the car, make sure your kids have the right seats for their weight & height. Has it been awhile since you’ve checked that the seats are installed correctly? SafeKids is a great resource. Also, make sure you buckle before you bundle. Heavy coats and bulky winter wear can create unsafe slack in car seat straps.

Icy roads and winter weather can be dangerous. Especially if you’re travelling with kids, make sure you’re well-prepared with a first-aid kit, emergency water, blankets, gas can, cell phone chargers or extra batteries, etc. (Here’s a good list) Make sure your tires are properly inflated & your car is in good working order BEFORE it’s time to leave.

How long is your drive? How many stops will you make? When is naptime? Take these into consideration as you plan. The “best” time to travel will depend on your family. I have friends who leave early in the morning so kids will nap in the car, & other friends who swear by driving through the night so their kid will sleep for the majority of the trip. Even if your kids don’t have to go to the bathroom, get them out of the car & moving around during rest stop or gas station breaks. They’ll be less antsy in the car.

Given their age & development, have reasonable expectations for how long you can expect your kid to sit still in the car. Even as adults, long car rides can be monotonous and make us cranky. I tend to make exceptions for household rules: I allow a little more screen time & allow them extra snacks during trips. Consider reserving a few “special” toys for road trips-only.

Libraries are the best!! Check out some new-to-them books, CDs, DVDs, or audiobooks. My local library also has Playaways, which only require a AAA battery & headphones.

These tactile “Poke-a-Dot” books and Melissa & Doug’s “Water Wow” books come highly recommended. They’re both reusable & mess-free.

Download digital content before you leave to avoid using mobile data (and avoid interruptions if you lose service!) Both Netflix & Amazon Prime now allow members to download content to devices. Hoopla is another great app which is FREE if your library offers it - and many do! You can download movies, music, audiobooks, ebooks, comics and TV shows.

Podcasts are another great digital option. Here are some recommendations which are great for the whole family to listen to together:
Brains On!
NPR’s “Wow in the World”
Stories Podcast

Apps will depend largely on your child’s age, but make sure you have a few which don’t require mobile data. Baby Smash is a current favorite of our 1-year-old.

Prefer to avoid screens? Some of the best road trip activities require little or no equipment at all. Painters tape & stickers are big hits with toddlers. Bubble wrap is another option (this is a choking hazard, so monitor closely or use only with older kids). Baking sheets make great lapboards for drawing (avoid anything that stains), and double as a magnet board. “I spy”- type games are great for all ages. Who can spot license plates from the most states? Can you spot every letter of the alphabet on road signs? There are lots of “car seat bingo” printables available for free online, or you can create your own.

Older kids may enjoy journaling or taking pictures of the trip. Plus, if they’re taking the photos instead of you, you may actually BE in some of them! :)

Stop by the dollar store or the dollar section of your favorite store….you know the one. For only a few bucks, you can assemble a bag of surprises to reveal or have kids unwrap. Break up the monotony by giving hem on the hour, every time you cross a border, or every 50 miles, etc.

Happy trails & safe travels!