Ah, the holidays. For many of us it’s a time to be with our families and close friends, take a break from work, and appreciate all the great things in our lives.

But as much we love the holidays, this time of year can also involve plenty of stress, particularly on the parenting front. For many of us, the holidays are also a time when we travel with our kids—with all of the planning and logistics that involves. We can all probably remember at least one cranky car ride that we’re hoping to avoid this year.

While you can’t prevent all travel stress (ahem- traffic), there are things you can do to increase the odds that your holiday trip goes well for all involved and the journey to grandma’s house is smooth sailing. If things go really well, you might even arrive without forgetting something at home. How many times has that happened?

TIPS FOR TRAVELING WITH KIDS OF ALL AGES:

Make your motto “Be flexible.”

Even the best-laid plans sometimes go awry, so flexibility is going to be your best friend. You’ve done all the prep work for the trip, but kids are unpredictable. Know that however this trip goes, you’ll come out the other side and your kids are truly only going to remember all the happy moments.

Pack an easily accessible bag of essentials

This should include a change of clothes, any medications, a light blanket, and anything else you may need in case plans change. Knowing that you have your “in case of emergency” bag packed can give you peace of mind in case of things like a vehicle breakdown. We throw our “emergency items” in a backpack to make it super easy to find and each kid has their own so there’s no confusion (or arguing). We have also turned a small lunch box into our first aid kit. It never fails, someone needs an aspirin or gets a cut that requires a little TLC while we we’re on the road (fancy band-aids make great fashion accessories according to my 8yo).

Extra snacks!

Who doesn’t love snacks? It’s perfectly okay to relax certain rules during trips, and snacking during trips can be a great way to keep kids distracted and entertained. We pack a cooler filled with a variety of snacks, and include some new or favorite “special” treats as well.

Entertainment

We have charging cables, earbuds, dolls, books, pens, and markers for days when we take road trips. One thing that always causes problems is keeping them organized so they don’t get lost in the car. I have found that using tech organization cases, cosmetic bags, and jewelry rolls have been major sanity savers in this department. Not to mention, they fit perfectly into the kids’ backpacks so I’m not forced to surrender my purse to hold all the stuff.

I hope these tips help make your family’s next holiday trip the best one yet. -Tiffany

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