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Stock up the Car for Summer

How many times have you been out with the kids and had to return home for something that you didn’t realize you’d need?  Or stopped to buy fast food or a sweatshirt because you weren’t prepared?  There are things that you’re going to want to have handy all summer long, so go ahead and stock up the car now.sunscreen1

  • Sunblock – There should always be sunblock in the car. Hand it to the kids so they can start applying it while you’re driving.
  • Quarters and cash. Quarters for parking meters and a few dollars for snacks and small items.
  • Snacks.  Things that can stay in the car regardless of the heat until that fateful day when you’re out longer than you expected and the kids are starving. You don’t want to ruin dinner by stopping for fast food, and you only need something to hold them off for a little while.  Things like crackers are good.socks
  • Water. More important than food.
  • Spare Clothes. One set of socks, shoes (or flip flops), shorts, underwear and t-shirts for each kid for when their clothes get wet, as you know they will this summer.  Add a sweatshirt for when you stay out into the evening and a bathing suit and towel for unexpected water opportunities.
  • Movies. If you have a dvd player in your car, make sure you have a dvd to two handy. I recommend School House Rock because it’s good for short periods of time and all ages like it. Plus it’s not a decision. It’s just you putting on some music that happens to have cartoons attached. Set it to play random songs.
  • Wetwipes.  I’m assuming that if you have really little kids you’ve already got the diaper bag situation under control. Otherwise, get some wet wipes for a quick cleanup on the road. Last year’s wet wipes are all dried out by now, so you need to replace them.beach-towels
  • Reading material for you. If you’re stuck somewhere waiting for something or someone, you could stop at a nearby park where the kids will be entertained. Having a magazine or novel handy makes it more convenient for you.
  • Hand held video games.  I keep these under wraps and use them in emergency situations only.  Once the kids know they’re there, they’ll get used and become boring. Simple single-game handhelds only cost about $10 each.
  • Cooler. This could be a small plastic cooler or even a cheap styrofoam cooler.  The point is that when you’re going to be out longer than you expected, you can pick up food at the grocery store instead of McDonalds and have a place to put it. You can either buy ice, or get a couple of cans of frozen juice concentrate to keep the food cold. Then when you’re home later, the cans will be melted and you can mix the juice.
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  • First aid kid. Sometimes a band-aid is more about comfort than necessity.
  • Meltdown materials. What is it that can calm your child down when they’re overtired? Sometimes bringing out that familiar comforting item can be enough to keep the peace until you get home.

Okay, you’re officially ready for summer.  Go have fun!