|About 5 1/2 hours into our trip. Still going strong.|
If you had asked me how to avoid meltdowns on long road trips about five hours ago, I would have had great advice for you: Don't push the kids too far. That's still good advice, so long as you follow it. After spending a majority of the past four days in the car, my kids are absolutely at their limit. Combine that with switching sleeping accommodations every night, massive amounts of attention from family and friends, awful food on the road and a lack of sleep, they are farrrrr beyond their limit.
Both of the kids did great on the first 3 1/2 days of the road trip to Iowa. They were happy and well-behaved. And they were cute. They certainly brought joy to a sad situation.
Here are some tips on having a successful road trip:
- Take breaks every 2 or 2 1/2 hours. Get some fresh air, let the kids run around a bit. Of course, this advice completely backfires when it's 0 degrees outside, which may have been part of our problem today.
- Pack lots of snacks - mostly healthy if you can. Of course, this advice completely backfires when the bananas and apples freeze in the car because you forget to remove them. Also, we ate through most of the healthy snacks by yesterday at noon.
- Use electronics sparingly. We don't have a portable DVD player for the kids on purpose. They actually entertain themselves quite well without that type of activity. However, when the mood in the car is devolving and you still have roughly 2 hours to go, break all of the rules. Nate had his computer loaded with movies and they came in handy tonight when we were driving in the dark. Watching a movie in the car was a big reward and the kids instantly quieted down.
- As noted in the introduction, don't push the kids too far. We certainly did that tonight. We left after the funeral at 1. We were already tired from a long and emotional day. Pile on 7 hours of driving and EVERYONE in the car had a meltdown at some point (adults included).
By the time we arrived at the hotel for the night, the kids were exhausted, but jazzed up because we were finally out of the car. Mom and Dad were tired and tired, so the combo of jazzed/tired didn't work out in anyone's favor.
With all of that said, though, I am so proud of Benny and Lila. For the most part, they have been wonderful traveling companions for the past 4 days. We are all looking forward to being home tomorrow and getting some R&R before returning to work/school for the remainder of the week.