Road Trips and Meltdowns with My Boys

Traveling with children can be difficult! A meltdown might happen!! As parents, we want our children to experience the world of travel. We want to travel with our children and sometimes a meltdown will happen. Traveling can be very stressful for everyone but especially for young children that haven’t traveled often. 

I have always enjoyed a good road trip! It’s my favorite way to travel.  

My boys haven’t always been a fan of a good road though. It took time for them to get used to sitting in the car for hours and to entertain themselves without arguing. Our first long road trip was a nightmare!! They were very young and did not like being strapped in their car seats for hours. I think we stopped every hour on the hour! I got really frustrated and so did my boys. We all had a meltdown!!

That trip was a day trip to an amusement park. We left very early in the morning. I didn’t pack enough stuff for them to entertain themselves. 

The trip home was great!! My boys had such a fun time at the amusement park, they slept most of the way home. Plus it was close to their bedtime when we left the park. We stopped for dinner and I made sure they used the bathroom before we hit the road to come home. 

Future road trips were taken in the evening with a hotel stay until that got older. We would leave in the evening after dinner. I packed plenty of stuff for them to entertain themselves with. We would do one last bathroom stop before they fell asleep. I would drive late into the night and stop at a hotel when there were only a few more hours to drive. 

We still had a major meltdown!

Even after planning everything and trying to have better road trips, we still had a major meltdown! My youngest son was about 4 years old and had to go potty right as I was passing a rest area. Mind you, I had just asked if they had to go because I saw the rest area sign. Trying to explain to a 4-year-old why you can’t just turn around and go back on a 4 line highway isn’t easy. I told him he would have to wait unless he wanted to pee in the woods. Of course, he didn’t want to pee in the woods!

By the time we got to the next rest area, he really had to go potty!

There was a line and my son is yelling I have to go really bad mommy. Once again, I told him I could take him to the woods to pee. The meltdown started with those words. He is crying and yelling that he has to go now and I’m not peeing in the woods mommy! Thankfully other women started letting me in front of them so my son could go. They were all saying they have been there. Finally, we were next and my son is still crying and yelling about how bad he has to pee. I’m trying to maintain my patients and not get frustrated. A lady comes out of a stall and my son took off for it. He gets in there and totally freaked out because the toilet is “silver”!! He refused to use the silver toilet! I lost all of my patients at that very moment. I said fine let’s go. You are peeing in the woods now! He just looked at me and said you are yelling at me, mommy. I’ll pee in the woods. 

So I picked my son up and told him I was sorry for yelling. As I’m hugging him, I’m walking as fast as I can to the back of the building so my son can finally go potty in the woods. 

When we got back to the car, my youngest is telling his brother and Aunt that the toilet was silver and he went potty in the woods. He said that mommy had a meltdown. 

Children will have meltdowns no matter how hard you try to make sure they don’t!

You can take days to pack everything to try to prevent a meltdown but it can still happen. You can’t plan how your child will feel when you are traveling. You can just do your best. 

If you see a parent trying to keep it together while their child is having a meltdown, offer some help! Or just smile at the parent so she isn’t stressing as much. Our children having a meltdown can cause us to have a meltdown. Be kind to each other. 

For me, my child would have a meltdown in public. We took a lot of road trips. In a way, I think I had it pretty easy. I could just pick up my child and put him in the car. For parents that fly or take the train, I think that would be harder with a child having a meltdown. 


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