Traveling with an Anxious Child

Summer is in full swing and, for many families, that means it’s road trip season. With two high energy five-year-old boys and a four month old, we recently embarked on our first road trip as a family of five. Historically, our boys’ tablets have helped ease boredom during extended periods of time in the car. However, we’ve been much more relaxed about screen time since our baby was born, so we nervously made the commitment to leave electronics behind in an effort to connect more as a family on this trip. We knew a plan would be essential, especially traveling with a child who struggles with anxiety. I’ve put together some road trip tips that helped make our trip more enjoyable and allowed us to come home from the trip feeling refreshed, which isn’t always the case with little ones in tow.

1. Set the tone for the trip by leaving calmly.

My husband and I have such different traveling personalities. He packs days in advance and I’m typically frantically tossing things into a bag minutes before we walk out the door. We often leave the house feeling stressed, which doesn’t set a great tone for the trip. This time we made an effort to pack luggage, load the car, fill up with gas, prepare snacks, etc. the day before our departure and it made such a huge difference.

2. Pack plenty of snacks and drinks…and then pack more.

Is it just us or do kids develop insatiable appetites in the car?

We are huge fans of these Lunchbots Containers for packing kid size servings.

The Dash water bottle by Zoli is also great for road trips.

3. Pack an activity bag with travel-friendly toys and games.

Here are some of our favorites.

{One: View Master, Two: Travel Tangoes, Three: Paint by Sticker, Four: Water Wow, Five: Travel Bingo, Six: Magnetic Fun, Seven: Wikki Stix, Eight: Boogie Board, Nine: Travel Spirograph, Ten: Pin Art, Eleven: Spot It, Twelve: Find It, Thirteen: Tape Activity Book}

4. Keep everyone informed.

One of our boys is a bit of an anxious traveler. Before we had even exited our neighborhood, my husband and I had already fielded questions about the weather, the status of our gas tank, the locks, and our dog who was in the trusted care of a family friend. We’ve learned that he travels best when we keep him informed, so I was excited to find this Travel Timeline at Housing a Forest. Our boys LOVE maps, so I was also excited to stumble upon this scratch-off map. I’ll tuck this away in case we ever get brave enough for a longer road trip.

5. Set realistic expectations and plan for breaks.

We found that building scheduled breaks into our trip was, not only beneficial for our kids, but planning for breaks also helped us feel less frustrated about making stops.

Safe Travels!

If you have any additional questions please contact us at 512-246-7225. If you are ready to get started, please visit our client portal.