Trucker Tourist (Part 2)
Even though my children were grown when I started my trucking career, I still had grandchildren that loved rolling with Granny during the summer. But, how do you handle those little rascals when they go with you on the road? My secret to safe and fun-filled road trips in a big truck is having several activities for them to do. I know, there isn’t a whole lot of space to bring the big toys they play with at home, but I’ve found that you can bring a lot of “busy time” fun diversions with you that don’t take up too much room. I also suggest being organized with everything you bring for them to avoid clutter, and the “that’s mine” fights. I kept my kiddos’ belongings organized in separate backpacks, and they were responsible for cleaning up after themselves. Below are some items I suggest taking with you when you have those little ones along for a big truck ride. Most are available on Amazon or your local Walmart.
- Blanket and pillow – My babies had their favorite blankets and pillows at home, but for big truck trips we opted for small comfort fleeces and pillows to save room. The ones that I got for them were available in a tidy travel bag. They came in various colors and were easy to store in an overhead compartment until nap or bed times. My kiddos liked sleeping in the sleeper with Granny, but those little blankets and pillows came in handy for naps. Amazon has some really nifty items like “Pet Pillows,” Seat Belt Shoulder Pillows, and even a Kid Comfort Booster Pillow. Some of these might be better for your babies depending on their ages.
- Necessities – First aid kits, flashlights, sippy cups, food, and of course, clothes will always be needed. I don’t know about ya’ll, but my truck always had a first aid kit in it, and I carried a flashlight inside my driver’s side door.
- Organization – I liked using travel organizer bags for my kids’ clothes and shoes. They aren’t like regular suitcases, which can be big and bulky. They are nylon and come in various colors and sizes so that they can be compacted down, and easily stored in a truck closet. We color code for each kid, and the size gives them some idea of which bag contains their clothes and which contains their shoes.
- Accessories – One of my favorite was a back over organizer. The last time I looked online I saw a really awesome one that I wish I would have known about when my babies where running with me. The ones I used had space for the sippy cup or a bottle of water. The pockets held books, colors, small toys, and even a snack or two. The newer versions are decked out with a place for tablets, Nintendo DS, games, and some of them are even insulated to keep pudding, Go-Gurts, or sandwiches cool, avoiding the over stuffing of the fridge. These are a must for truckers who take their kids during the summer.
- Toys – Now for the really important items kids need for a long road trip in the big rig. Yep, TOYS! If you think you’re going to have a peaceful and tranquil trip without toys, think again. After the 10,000+ questions you’ll answer over and over about everything they see, and after you have told them a gazillion times that you have to concentrate on your driving, you’ll realize diversions are a must. I found that coloring books and colors or markers occupy for a while, but then kids need more activity. A Nintendo DS and tablets with games worked well, but as a writer, I highly recommend books! I found beautiful books with story-telling magnets, finger puppets, and even puzzles that went along with the stories. There are also awesome travel activity sets with stickers, flash cards, and mess-free color sets. I recently came across the really cool Vertical Vortex Spring with a carry bag (a small kinetic toy without all the pieces), and Crayola has a new Color Wonder light-up stamp and art set.
So, there you have it. When school is out, and those tots are on board with you as you roll across the country, you’ll have options to keep them busy. I also found that making a few extra stops along the way to look at lakes, pretty flowers along the highway, or just to stretch our legs and pick up old rocks made our adventures exciting as well. Have fun this summer and enjoy every moment with your children and grandchildren. Time goes fast, they will be grown before you know it! Oh, and after they go to bed, don’t forget that you’ll need a wind-down activity. That’s a great opportunity to catch up on The Mother Trucker book series!