What time of day is the best time to travel with children?
By nanny from WI
It depends on how you train them. My folks would pack us up at midnight to leave so we would sleep while they were driving until 6-7am; then stop for breakfast, change clothes, etc. Just pack lots of games, books, snacks, DVDs if your vehicle is so equipped. Plan to stop every 2 hours for bathroom/stretch breaks; kids can't sit as long as adults. Stay positive! Start with shorter trips and work up. My nieces are 3 & 4 and travel like troopers, it's all in the "training."
As bkvander said, it really does depend on the child and how they have been trained. I think the first trip I did with my kids was started just around bedtime so they will sleep. Now that they are a few years old, but still preteen we get up really early. Kids crawl in the vehicle in their pj's and then we stop for breakfast when they wake again. They do generally go back to sleep for a while, but it might take a little bit for that to happen. They change out of pjs when we stop for breakfast.
Another tip I found that helped a lot was to pack a "fun bag" that is easily accessible at stops. The bag should have stuff like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a small ball, maybe a jump rope depending on the age of the child. Every stop should include a few minutes of play time to let the kids expend some of that pent up energy that ends up causing arguing between siblings. We also play tag during our stops if there is a place that won't interrupt others. Now that my kids are school age, I have included a small digital camera in the "fun bag". It is always cool to see things from their point of view.
We used to travel with our kids starting around 7pm. The trick we learned early - on days to travel we didn't give our kids an afternoon nap. This would usually end up with them going to sleep sooner and staying asleep through the night.
If you really need to travel during the day I would recommend leaving an hour or so before your kids normally take a nap. Then they sleep during part of the trip. Of course , if your kids don't normally take naps your next best bet is an activity that is high energy to wear them out (so to speak). Just make sure you live through it. No naps for the driver.
I have traveled with my children many times over their childhood. with little ones plan on stopping for Lunch or just a break at a fast food place that has a playground. I have done this with my own children and now my Grandson. Always keep lots of snacks and drinks games etc to keep them happy in the car. And our #1 family travel rule was every time you stop, Everyone uses the bathroom, whether they feel the need or not. this saves on little Johnny needing to Go ten minutes after you pull away from the rest stop. Happy travels!
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