Driving with kids can be a challenge. It can be hard to control the problems in the backseat while staying safe on the road. Driving with a child who has special needs can present added challenges. From a short drive to a long-winded road trip, here are a few tips for driving with a child who has special needs.
Maps and Apps are Your Friends
Even if you already know the route, relying on a map or a GSP app can come in handy. Maps allow you to mark or bookmark locations along the way. You can bookmark a few of your child’s favorite places on the route so you can be prepared to stop at their favorite restaurant, fast food location, or a park if a break from the car is needed. Map apps can also be calming for your child by giving them a visual aid to see where you are headed.
Let Your Child Bring a Travel Buddy
It can be hard to get your child excited about hopping into a car that is going to take them away from the comfort of their home. Introduce a travel buddy, such as their favorite toy or blanket, to help them feel more comfortable with exploring unfamiliar environments.
Bring Your Own Travel Buddy
If you’re going on a longer drive than your child is comfortable with, bring a friend or family member along to help you keep your child in good spirits. An extra friend or family member can help engage your child in conversations and games in the car to pass time quicker.
In-Car Entertainment Is a Must Have
Always fill your car with car-specific entertainment for your kids to have in the backseat. Coloring books, portable DVD players, books, and music are great options to keep your child busy in the car. Make sure to avoid keeping small items in the car that can easily be dropped or lost.
Always Bring a Snack
You never know when your child is going to get frustrated over a little hunger. Packing a snack, even for a short ride, can eliminate meltdowns and keep your child happy on the road.
Make a Car Emergency Kit
We can’t always avoid issues such as spills or a flat tire. The best way to handle these situations is to always be prepared. Knowing how to handle a roadside emergency, in general, is important; however, having a set of tools, an empty gas can, or a spare tire can help get you and your child back on the road quicker, leaving less time for your child to panic. Further, having items such as wet wipes, Lysol wipes, and extra charging cords can help minimize disasters like a spilled drink or a dead tablet.
These tips for driving with a child who has special needs are all about making them feel more comfortable and being prepared for the unexpected. Travel buddies, maps, entertainment, snacks, and an emergency kit can make driving with a child who has special needs run smoother.