Your bags are packed, the gas tank is full, and the keys are in the ignition. But before you can even turn the car on, there’s a familiar cry from the back seat: “Mom, I’m hungry!”
As every parent knows, a hungry kid is an irritable and cranky kid -- hardly the kind of passenger you want to be trapped in a moving vehicle with for hours on end. So how can you avoid this scenario the next time your family hits the road? Try these steps to fuel your crew before you go:
1. Time your departure carefully. If you’re leaving close to a mealtime, opt for something that can be eaten en route if possible to save time -- it will double as a diversion, too!
2. Stock up on portable snacks! Make sure to include some old favorites, but throw in a few new ones to keep things interesting, like Quaker Big Chewy Granola Bars. They’re the perfect on-the-go snack: sweet and satisfying, even for bigger appetites (that means you, parents)! Other ideas: pretzels, crackers, homemade trail mix, and a cooler bag with cheese sticks, yogurt tubes, and fruit. Of course, if you want to pack enough food for a family feast on the road, that works too. Just don’t forget napkins, cutlery, and drinks.
3. Strategize your stash. Packing an individual Snack Supply Kit for each kid is practical and fun, but how exactly you do this depends on your crowd. Will your kids be excited by a bag full of snacks customized just for them? Or will fights break out if each child has a different selection? Do whatever will keep the peace!
4. Be rest-stop savvy. It’s pretty much inevitable that you’re going to pass some of these along the way. Use them to your advantage! They have bathrooms, of course, but some also offer tourist maps and information (older kids will love checking out brochures) as well as picnic tables and grassy areas where you can stretch your legs or even play a game of catch.
5. Keep things neat and tidy. After a long ride with kids in tow, your car is probably going to look just a little bit like a war zone. But you can minimize the mess by bringing some small trash bags and zipper-top plastic bags along to corral trash and store unfinished snacks.
What’s your best tip for staying sane on a road trip with the family?
Image via kthypryn/Flickr