5 Things I Learned From a 24-Hour Road Trip With My Kids

5 Things I Learned From a 24-Hour Road Trip With My Kids

There was so much to learn about parenting in one long road trip alone with the kids.

By: Maria Mora

I grew up going on road trips with my mom and grandmother. Every summer, we’d drive 22 hours each way from Florida to Massachusetts. Now that I have kids of my own, it’s important to me to give them the opportunities and experiences I had. So I recently packed up my 5-year-old and 8-year-old and headed from Florida to Tennessee -- without any help.

I’m happy to report that we survived. Despite the fact that everyone from my son’s therapist to my friends told me that I was “really brave” for embarking on the journey, it went smoothly. I won’t lie -- I did cry tears of frustration a few times. But overall the trip was super positive. My kids learned about mountains and I learned a lot about being a mom.

1. My kids are more capable than I think. I pictured my kids acting like total monkeys for the entire trip. They had their moments, but they pleasantly surprised me over and over. They carried their own luggage, went to bed on time, showed interest in all the cool nature attractions we saw, and thanked me for taking them on the trip.

2. I’m more capable than I think. I was really nervous before we left, but everything turned out fine. I got lost a few times and let my phone navigate us back. I drove on twisty mountain roads. I found free, exciting things to do. I drove for hours and hours without going crazy. I’m a single mom, but I didn’t feel hindered going on a road trip alone.

3. Flexibility is key. On our trip, I learned to go with the flow. When we were tired, we stayed at our hotel and went swimming. We ate when we were hungry. We looked for playgrounds when we were bored. Flexibility is important on the road, but it’s important at home too. The trip taught me not to over-schedule and not to freak out when plans don’t fall into place exactly as imagined.

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4. Planning is crucial, too. I know I just said flexibility is key, but it pays to be prepared. I didn’t fly blind. I researched destinations and read reviews. I asked friends how to pack for a road trip with kids. I had lots of conversations with the boys about their expectations. In every aspect of parenting, it helps to do your homework.

5. Family meetings are important. I never want to lose touch with my kids. It’s easy to communicate now because they’re little. But what will happen when they’re teens? For now, we have family meetings, and we had them on the road. Every night we piled into one bed and rehashed our day, good and bad.

What have you learned while traveling with children?

Maria Mora is a single mom, editor, and hockey fanatic. She lives with her two sons in Florida.

Image ©iStock.com/Imgorthand

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