Look at your little bundles of joy. They are, without a doubt, the best thing that ever happened to you. In your eyes, they could do no wrong. So, why does the thought of the upcoming car trip fill you with so much trepidation?
Well, what you are experiencing could be due to a flashback of the last trip you took with the kids. The drama was a lot to bear. Dealing with boredom, tantrums, and endless stops tested your resolve as a parent.
And, don’t forget how much you had to spend cleaning the car afterward. How is it possible that these little angels could accumulate so much trash? The spills from the juice boxes cost you a pretty penny in deep seat cleaning. Indeed it required a total detailing of the car’s interior.
But, do you know you could have avoided all that? Yes, some simple, practical tips can help keep the car clean. You don’t have to be afraid to travel with the kids anymore, simply implement the following:
1. Prepare Well For the Road Trip
Any seasoned road traveler will start by taking care of the basics. Servicing is a must to ensure the car is in a roadworthy condition. Take time to clean the car well before the trip. A visit to the car wash should take care of this for you.
Hygienic conditions are critical when traveling with little ones. Unlike adults, the kids’ immune system is not as developed. Germs and dirt mixing with food can lead to health problems. Imagine traveling with a sick child. That in itself is worthy of a whole other article.
It’s not just the car’s interior that needs to be cleaned. Your windows should be crystal clear. Engage with experts that offer window cleaning services to ensure you have proper visibility during the trip.
Streaks from improper cleaning will affect your ability to see the road ahead. It gets worse when it is raining and/or dark. The experts have the right solutions and window washing methods to ensure a thorough job.
2. Pack with the Kids in Mind
Packing for a road trip with kids needs some creativity. You must ensure you have enough clothes, food, drinks, entertainment, and sanitation. The age of the kids will determine what you need to carry.
Plenty of wet wipes, for example, are a must when traveling with toddlers. They will come in handy when you need to wipe grubby hands. You will also need them during diaper changes. Put everything you may need along the road in an easy-to-reach place.
Organizers work great in such instances. Also, have a change of clothes, toiletries, and medical supplies nearby. It would be inconvenient to have to park on the roadside and start rummaging through suitcases looking for such.
Finally, carry along plenty of trash bags. Trust us when we say these will be valuable items during the car trip.
3. Cover the Seats and Floor
Cover the seats unless you want to go through the hassle and expense of deep seat cleaning. A sheet or throw blanket should do the trick. The other alternative is to use waterproof sheets that you can buy at most stores or even online.
The advantage of the covers is you can catch crumbs or spills. At a rest stop, simply shake out the cover and reuse it. Pack an extra one in case of liquid spills. It will take time to dry out, and you will need a backup.
Do the same for the car floor. Cut up a trash bag and line up the rows. That way, you can keep muddy footprints off the car mats. Also, this nifty trick will catch crumbs, making it easy to clean up later.
4. Organize Items with Simple Hacks
The kids are sure to bring along their favorite toys, books, or electronic devices. Indeed, you will appreciate having such during long trips. There are few things as frustrating as dealing with a bored child.
But, these lifesavers can also contribute to the clutter in the car. Spend some time browsing the internet for some simple DIY car seat organizers. Platforms like YouTube and Pinterest have so many simple ideas you can try.
Teach the kids how to use the organizer before the trip. Make sure they understand everyone has a role to play in keeping the car clean. Simple reward systems or games can make them want to participate. This is not to say that you should use gifts as the main incentive. But as a parent, you understand the role of positive reinforcement in getting kids to cooperate.
5. Eating In the Car
As an adult, you can hold your hunger until you reach a rest stop, however, the same can’t be said for your toddlers. The kids will demand snacks or drinks anytime the urge hits. And, unless you are doing the feeding, it is pretty much up to them. So, depending on the food, it can be hard to keep things neat.
Expect plenty of crumbs and grubby fingers. The seat covers will prove quite helpful at this time. Also, plan what and how to serve. Snack holders are easy to find in most stores. The construction allows them to be mini-trays. They also allow for the compartmentalization of food, thus better presentation to picky eaters.
Help the kids with eating as much as you can. Discard any leftovers that you cannot reuse in the trash bag afterward.
6. Keep Up With Cleaning
Do not let things pile up in the car before cleaning. Take every rest stop as an opportunity to tidy up a little. Shake out the seat cover and mats. Use the wet tissues to wipe out grubby fingers or hand marks.
Use this as an opportunity to teach the kids some critical skills. Again, creativity in how you get them to help will go a long way. Make it fun, and they will be happy to participate. Carry along some window cleaner and a soft cloth to avoid dirt buildup on the windows.
Also, empty the trash bags as often as you can. Food waste can start to smell after some time. You don’t want the yogurt containers or banana peels to lend their odor to the ambiance.
Traveling with kids should not be a nightmare. True, they are not the easiest people to go on a long car trip with. It is a fact that they can make the car quite dirty.
You can avoid the stress with the simple yet practical steps we have shared above. Also, share with us your own tips, it will be interesting to know what worked for you and your family!