My family of five recently did our first major road trip, traveling from our Maryland home to Disney World in Florida and back. Though we're no strangers to travel, a trip of this length and distance was a new experience for us with three children in tow. What helped us keep our sanity? Our schedule, of course! Whether your schedule is rigid or relaxed, maintaining some semblance of it when you travel can help make your trip a success.
Don't sleep the day away.
I know you're on vacation. The kids have a break from school, and you're excited to be out of the office. It's only natural not want to forgo the alarm and sleep until you simply can't sleep anymore. If you do, though, expect scheduling disaster ahead. Let everyone sleep in for a bit, but still make it a point to rise at a reasonable hour and get motivated to start the day. Not only will you see and do more on your trip, but it will make it easier to eat regularly, get the kids down at naptime, and then go to bed without a struggle.
It's easy to let time slip away while you're running through a theme park, making good time on the road, or exploring a museum. Be prepared for meals though, because hungry kids are often quick to turn into grouchy kids (ditto for parents). Pack a snack and drink bag and make sure to stop regularly for a bite to eat while you're out and about. You can push a meal off if you get a later start, for instance, but keeping a regular meal schedule can help everyone keep up their energy and enjoy the day.
Squeeze in a nap.
Does your baby or toddler take a daily nap? Resist the urge to skip it completely. Naps are crucial for baby's development. They also help little ones recharge, and vacations can be draining on little minds and bodies. While we were on our trip, even my older daughters took naps sometimes, and we insisted on mandatory rest time once a day. Sure, you might spend one whole day out and about, but don't make a habit of it, even on vacation.
Get to bed at a reasonable hour.
Everyone (I really mean everyone) can get worn out on vacation. Don't be a slave to the clock, but don't allow everyone to stay up until midnight every night and keep up a fast-pace while you're traveling. Mom, dad, and kids are all sure to be miserable if they don't get enough sleep. Our Disney World vacation included one late night at Magic Kingdom. We purposely planned a relaxation day afterwards. If bedtime gets delayed, adjust your plans accordingly.
Keeping a schedule while you're on vacation might seem like a chore. In fact, your routine could help make your family trip the best one yet