Traveling with 3 Kids

Updated on April 10, 2008
S.R. asks from Sarasota, FL
15 answers

So whats the best way to travel with 3 kids 6,4 and 1, without them getting all figity during the drive? Any suggestions would be great!! Thanks

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A.F.

answers from Fort Myers on

I have 2 kids, 5 year old girl and 2 year old boy. They love children's cd's - great for the car. One of there favorites is Laurie Brickner ( she's also on the noggin channel ).

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J.C.

answers from Tampa on

yes try a tupper ware with a lid travling toy box for each and let them pick shat they want to put in it for the travels. then for the salvaiton of the parents a dvd player with movies that they have each picked out that they like, for the 6 and 4. of course for the 1 make sure there is learning toys to hekp amuse them. good luck. GMAJ

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L.S.

answers from Tampa on

WHen we travel, it's usually 14 hours away to visit family. So this advice is based on a 14 hour drive. I'm not sure how long you'll be traveling, but our DVD player was a huge help. I also bought a new movie so that really kept them busy. ANd I would take some they already had.

Another thing a friend of mine suggested that she did with her kids (they are now adults) is buy them new things just for the trip. She went all out and bought them new things, wrapped them up, and gave them a new gift every so often. I didn't get that into it. I did buy them new things for the trip but just packed it in their backpacks. So that kept them busy. I didn't go crazy in spending, just some cheap toys, coloring books, crayons, etc. to entertain.

Take plenty of baby wipes. And have a change of clothes easily available.

Have sippy cups and snacks available. If not you'll end up stopping a bunch and you know how that always turns into junk food.

If the drive is long enough, plan a long lunch. You could stop somewhere so they can eat and then have a chance to run and get their energy out. They'll fall asleep quickly once you get back on the road.

Take each one a blanket and a small pillow. Mine liked to kick off the shoes and get comfortable to watch a movie.

Have fun!

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R.A.

answers from Fort Myers on

I have two boys and 1 girl who are tweens now and travel well with Ipods and dvd players. Prior to moving here, we vacationed in Florida twice a year since the kids were born. The only thing that got us through the 18 hour drives was traveling at night. We'd leave around 6pm, eat dinner a few hours into the night and the kids fell asleep at their normal bedtime and slept right through til 8am. It was wonderful!! I'm a night owl, so I drove the night shifts.... and enjoyed a peaceful ride.

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J.F.

answers from Tampa on

We traveled to N. Georgia from Central Florida with two 6 year olds and one three year old. This time, we decided to purchase a portable DVD player w/two screens for the car. It worked like a dream. Of course we brought along games and puzzle books, but nothing kept them entertained like the DVD player. The ride was much more peaceful than we had ever experienced before. Best wishes and good luck.

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N.S.

answers from Naples on

We always travel at night with our girls. It is a little difficult on us the next day, but we get two sleeping beauties and no one telling us what to listen to on the radio. You could also try a DVD player, but they you may have fights over what to watch. Good luck.

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B.D.

answers from Tampa on

I know this is the lazy way, but we have a TV in our van. It keeps my 3 year old entertained for long periods of time. My older kids have ipods and gameboys and they love to read, so they are pretty good. We stop every few hours to eat, walk around or potty. That helps. We always bring lots of healthy snacks to eat in the car as well. You may want to get them a new toy that is just for the trip, but in my experiance that only lasts a few minutes. Another idea I've heard is driving at night. The kids sleep in the car while you drive. Hope some of this helps.
B.

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N.G.

answers from Tampa on

I agree with a lot of these women. I have a portable tv/dvd player, and my son has a Nintendo DS(handheld game) We had to drive 20 hours to go to my cousins wedding, and beetween those and trying to travel mostly at night so he'd crash, I barely had to worry about him getting figity. Hey I also want to mention that I am giving away childsafe ID kits for free to local moms on here (Tampa/st. pete area)They are just cards that keep picture, info and fingerprints of your kids in them. That way if something were to happen, or even just for piece of mind, you'd be set. If you're interested email me on here or at [email protected]____.com

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L.R.

answers from Richland on

I've been down your road and it can be long!!!
We have the portable DVD player but I don't like the idea of having my kids watch TV the whole time we're driving. It does work out well though and I would suggest going to the library to check out some DVD's you don't have (rather than buying). This way they can watch shows that are shorter in length than a 2 hour movie. Also, you may want to rent educational DVD's like learning Sign Language or Spanish.

When we go on a drive (short or long) I make a list of things for the kids to look for (like a red convertible, the big Golden M for McDonalds, a herd of cows, etc.) then as they find it we cross it off. Or we have a short list and count how many of those (3 or so) items we find. Like Postal trucks, school busses, convertibles, etc.

I like the idea of getting some new books/toys (and the Dollar Tree makes that do-able!) that may keep their attention for a while. You may also want to check at your local library for books that give you ideas on what to do for a drive. I'm sure they have them and they would be of great help.
You may do this already especially if you have someone who is potty training, but I travel with a portable potty in the back. It always seems like 3 miles after we pass a Rest Area, someone has to go NOW!!!
Good Luck, Have fun and travel safely!

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L.E.

answers from Tampa on

Travel at night so they will sleep, or at least start your trip at their regular nap time. Then when they wake, stop for potty break, and lunch outside the car, let them run around in the grass/playground for 15 minutes. Once back in the car, have a bag that you can reach and a bag that they can reach with books, quiet toys, and non-sticky snack packets. Always successful for us is the video if you have a portable dvd-good for at least 1-2 hours, and the books on tape/cd you can get at library, bookstore, or at Cracker Barrel. Everyone enjoys the story of the video or the book since all are listening, then you can talk about it afterwards. If they are awake, stop every couple of hours to let them run in the grass at a rest stop/Mickey D's/etc. Play tag with them for 15 minutes--gets the wiggles out and helps you stretch your muscles and stay awake.

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R.M.

answers from Tampa on

I hate to admit it, but a portable DVD player w/ car adapter has been our savior on long car rides for about 3 years now. Ours was a gift, but the prices have come down significantly, and when the first one conked, we got a new one w/ two headrest screens that is awesome for under $100. Still not cheap, but we travel about an hour each way to the grandparents' home at least twice a month, so a good investment. When we got ours, my youngest was about 18 months, and his attention span was long enough at that point to enjoy it.

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D.P.

answers from Fort Myers on

Portable DVD players & Game Boys. Just got back from Atlanta - over 9 hours with a 6 & 4 yr old. Trip went really well. They each got to bring 5 DVD's & everyone took turns picking a movie (including mommy). During my daughter's movies, my son either watched or played the game boy & my daughter watched all of his movies or slept. Let them pick the restaurants too.

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K.L.

answers from Naples on

we have a portable dvd player. They are not that expensive and you can set it up between the older kids. That gets us through long car rides. Also if you have an ipod or mp3 player download some songs they like and that tends to help. Makes mine feel"all that". Also, whats nice about the portable dvd player is that once your at your destination you can take it with you!!
good luck!!

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J.W.

answers from Lakeland on

when my husband was going to school in texas my (then) 1 year old and 2 year old were absolute terrors in the car all the time. we had to travel back and forth between houston and lake wales a lot...which by the way is a 22 hour drive IF you drive straight through with only meal stops and potty breaks but generally much longer (at least 2 days) if you have 1 driver trying to do it alone...we traveled mostly at night if we weren't trying to go straight through. not only were the major highways and interstates easier for us to drive due to less traffic, we made MUCH better time. the kids slept in the car and we had plenty of peace and quiet to SAFELY navigate the roads. halfway through my husband's time in school we had another baby so i had a newborn i was traveling with too...and even stopping every 3 hours to feed wasn't that big of a deal. the kids usually didn't wake up or even know we had stopped. just bring their favorite blankets, pillows, or anything else they usually need to sleep. have a good big meal beforehand, and try not to play your radio too loud. lots of coffee for the driver too lol. i'd say the day before the trip, find a sitter or have the person not doing the driving at first to sit with the kids while driver #1 sleeps all day. then they can be more awake and alert at night. point is, it can be done and it's not hard...just gotta plan it right. another trick if you're driving during the day, have them search for things on the way. make a list of things such as "1. billboard with a picture of a cow 2. fallen tree 3. person wearing a purple shirt" etc make it so there will be things to find while driving and while waiting at rest areas, gas stations and while you're eating. keep extra pens or pencils. first one to finish gets a prize or the person with the most found once you get to where you're going gets the prize.

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P.P.

answers from Tampa on

Books on tape!! They saved my sanity when my children were young. We listened to Indian in the Cupboard, Charlottes Web, Grimns Fairy Tales all kinds of things. They are 17 and 22 today and still expect a book if we are traveling over 4 hours. You can rent them at any Cracker Barrel for $3. and return them at any other Cracker Barrel up to a week later.

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