7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7

7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7 | Weekend Reads

Yesterday, our family of seven loaded into our Tahoe (with a LOT of stuff!), and headed out for a seven-hour road trip.  

Next week is our annual minister’s convention in the Ozarks, so we decided to make a mini-family-vacation of it over the weekend and enjoy Branson for a few days.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love getaways!  I really do!

But sometimes the “getting away” (packing) and the “getting there” (road trip) can be TOUGH with a young family. 

I thought I’d share seven fun, and hopefully helpful, ways for a young family to enjoy (or at least stay sane!) on a long road trip.  

I’d love to hear your ideas too, so leave me a comment at the end of this post, okay?

Here we go-

1. Bring snacks.  LOTS of snacks! 

I readily confess: I am a huge snacker on road trips.  Well, all the time, actually, but especially on road trips.  🙂

Each of my kids has a lunch box, so we enjoy using those on road trips.  After I’ve stocked up on healthy-ish snacks, either my girls or I will fill each of the lunch boxes with little bags or containers of favorite goodies to munch on while we travel.

7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7 | Kristy's Cottage blog

Here are a few of my kids favorites:

  • gluten-free pretzels
  • popcorn (makes a mess!)
  • cheese sticks
  • trail mix
  • fruit (grapes or apple slices “travel” well)
  • Veggie Straws
  • gluten-free cereal (Chex, or the new gluten-free Cheerios)
  • baby carrots
  • granola or protein bars

2. Listen to Audios 

Adventures in Odyssey is probably our very favorite audio to listen to as a family!  This year, we subscribed to the Odyssey Adventure Club, and we’ve enjoyed it so much.

Listening to something fun sure helps the hours and miles go by quickly!

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3. Keep Little Hands Busy! 

This one is especially important for my younger kids (and my rowdy boys!).  Children have so much energy and it’s just hard for them to sit, sit, sit all day long (in a booster seat, no less).

For my two and five-year old little boys, I like to bring a small back pack or tote bag.  I stash their lunch boxes in those, but also fill them with “busy” things, like favorite small toys, Busy Books, or crayons and a new tablet of paper.

7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7 | Kristy's Cottage blog

4. Bring Books 

My girls pick out a few of their favorite books  to bring on trips, and I usually stash a picture book or two in my little boys’ bags.  

My seven-year old especially enjoys the 1001 Things to Spot books from Usborne.

Here are a few other great books for young children on road trips: 

5. Don’t Forget to Take Naps!

Some of my kids are out-like-a-light as soon as the engine revs and we pull out of the driveway.  Others are more like me: it’s a fight-to-the-finish to see if they can stay awake!

Jeremy and I always encourage our kids to have some “quite time” during road trips, especially if we have a long haul ahead of us.  Our kids are used to naps or “quiet time” as a daily routine, so that helps.

7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7

6. Listen to Music or Sing!

Unless our kids are asleep, we keep music going in the vehicle during road trips.  It helps set a pleasant atmosphere so much, especially if kids are listening to songs they know and can sing along with.

As our older children have grown out of the “little” stage, they sometimes want to listen to something other than the music playing in the car. My girls enjoy using their ear buds to listen to a story or song on their mini cd players or the family tablet.

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7. Be Silly! 

This is my tool to pull out when everyone is worn out, tired, stiff and irritable near the end of the trip. 

We rolled into our hotel at 10:30 last night, and my kids were “done” with the trip by 9 o’clock!  I knew we had to get the kids engaged in something light-hearted and fun, or else spend the last leg of the trip fussing and whining.  

We ended up playing around with the Voice Changer app on my phone for a while, then watched some silly, short movies on You Tube.  

It felt pretty good to laugh our heads off, especially since we were all feeling a bit road weary.  Laughter is a great stress reliever and mood lifter!

7 Ways to Stay Sane on a Road Trip with a Family of 7

A final thought on road trips with children… 

Attitudes are catchy, so we moms have to set the pace for a pleasant atmosphere with our own attitudes. 

Sometimes (okay, a lot of times), Jeremy and I have to remind ourselves who the adults are around here.  

Yes, our kids get whiny, fussy, selfish, negative, tired and a dozen other flavors of “sour”… and traveling in a vehicle for seven hours (or staying in a little hotel room for seven days) can sure bring out the ugly side of all of us.

What’s your best tip for us?  

How do you make road trips with kiddos as enjoyable as possible? 

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  1. Glow sticks! Our kids love road trips after dark when we pull out those. They can write their name, write the alphabet, draw in the air, all with awesome light. Definitely good to pull out on that last leg!

  2. We took a road trip (8hours, plus) last August, and we followed a lot of the same things.
    Each child had a backpack with “toys”, books, and a snack. Then we had a big snack box, and a bag with audios, a read-aloud, and a few educational things.
    My children did a lot better than I thought they would, especially my 1-year-old!
    The only thing a bit different was that my 6-11 year olds rarely take naps, especially on the road. For me if a trip last longer than an hour I struggle to stay awake – not them. It hyped them up. (Help!)

    I hope y’all enjoy yourselves and have a really great trip!

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