With young kids, planning an eight hour car ride could seem like a rough beginning to a weekend trip. You’re already imagining your child screaming in the back seat “Are we there yet?” and the formation of a headache. That is, if you didn’t plan ahead to keep your children happy and chillin’ in the back seat! Mom, do yourself a favor and make the car ride a breeze with these easy tips:

Pack the snacks

Your child can’t complain if they have food in their mouth. Ok, maybe they can but it’s far less likely with their favorite fruit snacks in hand. This will help you spend less cash since you won’t have to hit up drive-thru’s along the way. Keep in mind the messiness of the snack, cheese flavor powder or sticky fingers may not be ideal. When the mess can’t be avoided, don’t forget baby wipes are great for finger cleaning. A trash bag already in the car will help with a fast cleanup, just ask your kids to throw wrappers in there instead of on the floor. For drinks pack small juice boxes, since they usually have less juice in them than what a sippy cup can hold. It will quench your child’s thirst without them over drinking and keep the bathroom breaks to a minimum.

Get comfy

Pack blankets and pillows in your backseat. This isn’t just a great tip for your child’s comfort but for yours too! You’re going to be sitting for a while, might as will make your car’s seat into a throne of fluffy comfort (unless you’re in the driver seat). Bonus: if your child happens to fall asleep for a couple hours.

Entertainment galore

Plan on more games than your child will be able to play; this is the make or break of a complain-free zone. Load the iPad with game apps or pack some DVDs for the portable player. Pack books; if your child is younger have an older passenger read to them. You can also play fun car games. Some great ones include:

  • Windmill: whoever spots a windmill calls it out and gets a point. This one is great for driving through the Midwest.

  • 21 Questions: someone thinks of something and you can only ask 21 questions to figure it out. Whoever guesses right gets to start the next round.

  • Spotting cows! Twist the classic game up a bit. Play left side of the car verse the right side. See a cow on your side say “Cows on my side!” See one on the other side before they do, steal their point and say “Cows on your side!” If you see a cemetery say “Ghost Cow” and steal all the other side’s points.