On the Road with Twins and Multiples

Are you hitting the road this year for Thanksgiving or Christmas? Going to Grandma’s for the holidays is lots of fun, but sometimes the trip there can be a real battle. What parent hasn’t heard the wailing from the back seat, “Are we there yet?” or “I have to go to the bathroom” (for the third time in an hour)? So, here are some tips for surviving the ride:

  • Lower your expectations. Don’t expect everything to go smoothly. Don’t expect all of your plans to go perfectly. In fact, don’t expect anything at all! Just “go with the flow.” You’re away from work and the drudgeries of home. Enjoy yourself and ignore the whining.
  • Take the worries out of packing by getting the kids to help out if they’re old enough. Give them a checklist of what to pack and have them pile their selections on the bed. You just need to glance through to make sure everything looks appropriate and put them in the suitcase.
  • Pack plenty of things for the kids to do in the car. Bring new toys and games and dole them out slowly, not all at once. (Check your local “dollar store” for inexpensive options.) Same goes for snacks.
  • Don’t be a marathon driver and expect the kids to sit in the car for five hours of driving. Take plenty of breaks. Consider leaving earlier than you need to and doing a little sightseeing along the way. Every town you pass through is a new destination to be discovered! Sometimes interesting things can be found off the beaten path rather than in a guidebook. The kids will be talking for years to come about the little fish they saw jumping in a pond or the creaky old bridge you crossed over.
  • Kids get more excited about trips when they’re given a chance to help plan it. Get out a map before you go and show them how you’ll be getting there. Consider buying several copies so they can “help” you with directions. Let them be the timekeepers and tell you when it’s time to stop for a potty break.
  • DVDs are always good for entertaining the kids for a couple of hours at a time. If you don’t have a player installed in the car or minivan, rent, borrow or purchase a portable one.
  • Be prepared with towels, extra clothes, and wipes in case someone gets carsick. Stopping frequently for breaks will help prevent this.
  • Avoid the “he always gets the best seat” argument by assigning seating arrangements ahead of time. If both kids covet the same position, perhaps they can trade off after each stop or for the trip home. Laying down the ground rules ahead of time will help minimize the squabbling.

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About Susan Heim

Susan M. Heim is an author and editor, specializing in multiples, parenting, women’s and Christian issues. Her books include "Boosting Your Baby's Brain Power"; "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Twins and More"; "It’s Twins! Parent-to-Parent Advice from Infancy Through Adolescence"; "Twice the Love: Stories of Inspiration for Families with Twins, Multiples and Singletons"; and, "Oh, Baby! 7 Ways a Baby Will Change Your Life the First Year." Upcoming books include "Chicken Soup for the Soul: All in the Family," "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotional Stories for Women," and "Moms of Multiples' Devotions to Go." Susan's articles and essays have appeared in many books, magazines and Web sites. She is a member of the National Association of Women Writers and the Southeastern Writers Association, and has a degree in Business Administration from Michigan State University. Susan lives with her husband and four sons (two teenagers and twin grade-schoolers) in Florida.