Due to our involvement in competitive soccer, and a father with Alzheimer's Disease who lives far away, long car trips are a fact of life for our family. Generally, I don't mind them too much. It gives my husband and I time to have a conversation with each other (sad, I know), and two of my children are very good travelers, and always have been.
I have three children.
And the one I didn't mention up above is a horrible, no good, very bad traveler.
She always has been. I distinctly remember a road trip to Memphis, Tennessee with her when she was eight months old. I swore, when we finally got there, that we were moving in with our friends.
At least until I got a job and made enough money to buy us plane tickets home.
It was, quite honestly, one of the worst experiences of my life--and, unfortunately, it's not the last time we had a car ride like that.
She is ten years older now than she was on that doomed Memphis trip, but she still hates car rides.
Really, really, really hates them.
I'm convinced it has a great deal to do with her Sensory Processing Disorder, being strapped into a booster seat, and being confined to a small space.
However, since those trips are a necessary evil for us, we've learned to use a few tools to make the ride go more smoothly over the years, and for this post, I enlisted Firefly's help to make a list of her favorites.
So here, compiled by Firefly (but corrected spelling by her Momma--you can thank me later), are her Eight Essentials for Taking a Long Car Ride:
1. Blanket--to keep and to make sure you are comfortable and are the right temperature, and so that you feel very cozy and tucked in.
2. Drink--so that you don't get thirsty. Sometimes when I get thirsty it makes my mouth dry and I get uncomfortable.
3. Crunchy Snack--When I get fed up or anxious it helps me calm down to crunch on a hard, crunchy snack (like granola).
4. Headphones with Music--If you ever get angry then you can calm down and start over with classical music.
5. Comfy Clothing--because it can get very uncomfortable to be wearing uncomfy clothing--especially on a long car ride.
6. Something Entertaining--I find it entertaining to play with something like: slinkys, putty, and play doh or clay to kill time.
7. Something Gooey or Sticky--I like to play with tape. I like to feel the stickiness on my fingers and then pull it off. Putty--it is very fun to mold shapes into the putty.
8. TOP THING! Sunglasses--The sun comes right through the window at odd angles and it bothers me. When I have my sunglasses it isn't nearly as bad.
I found this list interesting. I have decided that I will never understand the way my daughter's brain works--but this was a neat insight. Blankets and drinks I would have guessed--but I had no idea that the sun coming into the window bothered her so much. Or that the soothing sensation that comes from pulling tape off of your fingers was so wonderful. And yes, I have had to bring play doh into the car--on very, very rare occasions.
That doesn't mean I endorse it in any way. Ugh.
Both Firefly and I hope that this helps you in some small way to make those necessary road trips just a bit more pleasant--maybe even bordering on "not horrible".
Do you have any tried and true tricks to make road trips more pleasant for your child? We'd love to have some more tools in our toolbox!