By Smarty Kiara Harlow
Road trip season is upon us! School is almost out. The early summer holidays are here. Water at the beaches is almost warm enough for a good time! And family adventures await! So my crew is going to be in the car a lot more than normal.
While I live for a spontaneous trip, I am easily overstimulated in the car and I find packing and unpacking really overwhelming. But I’ve found a few things that work well, and I want to share the wealth!
1. Clean the house before you leave.
It doesn’t have to be a deep clean. But wipe down the counters, vacuum, fluff the couch pillows, and make the beds. Then when you get back with bags full of sand and collected “treasures” you’ll be better able to cope with unpacking mess since the rest of the house is clean…and not feel quite as tempted to leave everything sitting in the mudroom for a week. Ta-da!
2. Bring ear plugs.
I can’t really explain it, but sustained loud noise just pushes me over the edge these days. Longer than an hour in the car with my kids singing, laughing, and pointing out every red car, and I’m about to hit the fan! But I hate when I lose my cool with my kids, especially when they’re not doing anything wrong. So when I start to feel itchy inside, I poke my ear plugs into my ears, and everything comes down five notches. I can still hear, but I’m better able to cope.
3. Leave at nap time.
All my boys nap during the summer. We usually take a little quiet time around 2pm, so I find that it’s the best time to get on the road, especially on the way back home. It’s after lunch and morning activities, and the sun is still high in the sky, making it a perfect driving time. If we get on the road then, adults get at least an hour and a half of complete kid silence on the road—ample time to listen to crime podcasts before they wake.
4. Listen to family podcasts.
Now that all my boys are old enough to enjoy podcasts (youngest is 3), we love to listen together when we’re on the road. We don’t allow screentime during the week, so tablets aren’t an option for us on weekday road trips. But podcasts take the place of screens surprisingly well! A few of our favorites are Wow in the World, The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, and But Why.
If you have a tip or trick that you’d like to share, please send it on over at @ourharlowhighlife on Instagram. Motherhood is ironic in that as soon as you get your footing during one season, the ground shifts, the babies don’t keep, and now you’re back in the deep. So if you’ve been here and done this already with young kids, please share what works and what absolutely does not! I look forward to updating and refining this list as you guys weigh in and we pal around this summer!