Traveling with Kids–Ages 7, 5, 2, and 5 months

We’re on the second leg of our second big road trip with four kids. At this point, we do feel like we’re in a sweet spot of sorts. It’s hot and I guess my dad told Patrick something about nothing being worse than being broken down in bad weather than being broken down with small children. With this in mind, we keep the van very well-maintained. It’s been hot for the trip, but we’re working out okay.

Some things to consider about the ages:

Bathrooming–Doesn’t this make the stopping all consuming?! I think we’re about to enter a difficult phase on this one again, but right now, we’re enjoying it. Seamus and Gilbert are old enough that this isn’t such a big deal, and Porter and Harlan still wear diapers in the car. However, on the Garden State Parkway, I visited a family restroom with a little toilet. Nothing would do Porter but to sit on it. I’ll spare you a picture, but why doesn’t every rest area have this??? It was great! He had potty success, and I didn’t have a heart attack worried he’d fall in.

Food–We try to pack healthy snacks, bring a cooler, etc. However, we’ve been lax on the healthy in snacking. Last time we got home from a long road trip, G threw up from all the junk food he’d consumed. This time, we tried to do better. We did fruit, cheese sticks, and more, but because we left later in the day, we had to do lunch. Porter, Patrick, and I did pizza, but Seamus and Gilbert asked if they could try their first happy meal. And if McDonald’s doesn’t sue me, they got their first one from Burger King. Hoo-boy. Did they love the cheap toy! And the chocolate milk! They wanted to know if they could buy them as adults when they have their own money. I said they’re only for kids 12 and under. Seamus turned to Gilbert: “You could buy one and pretend it’s for your son at home.” We now enter the stage of sneakiness.

Entertainment–We may have let our morals slide with the food, but we hold tough on the audiobooks instead of screens. It’s working. We have done the pool and Olympics, but not much else.

Harlan’s a good traveler and that’s key to most of all of this working.


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