Home / Holidays / Thanksgiving How to set realistic expectations for Thanksgiving travel with kids Here's the reality: we will not make it on time. By Robin Eisenbrei November 22, 2023 Ground Picture/ Shutterstock We’ve all been there. We’re so excited to be traveling, maybe having some time with our thoughts while we (or our partner) are driving, only to hear the words, “Mom, I have to pee!” It’s easy to forget that those diaperless times can be tough when you’re on the road. So, what do we do? We stop. My husband or I take them to the bathroom so that we can try to make it to Thanksgiving dinner on time. Here’s the reality: we will not make it on time. We don’t need to set unrealistic expectations for our kids or ourselves. Here are some realistic expectations that can help make the journey easier for everyone. Related: 8 tips to keep you sane while traveling with kids this Thanksgiving 5 tips to make Thanksgiving travel with kids easier 1. Use a bin Set everything out in a bin the night before you leave. That way you can grab the bin and go in the morning. (If you forget something, that’s okay; blame it on the mom brain!) 2. Accept that your child might need a break Know your children are going to need to get up, move around, go to the bathroom, etc. It happens! Long car rides are not easy for anyone—no matter what age you are. 3. Do NOT give the host a set time You don’t know when you’ll be there. Children are unpredictable. This also alleviates some of the anxiety of trying to arrive at the time you discussed. The best answer to give is, “We will be there, but we can’t give you a time.” If they need a ballpark time, give yourself an extra hour so that you’re not rushing and have a little extra time. 4. Don’t rush Safety is so important, especially with those little ones. Choose to be safe over being on time. Related: 20 Thanksgiving Coloring Pages to Print For Kids 5. Kids will be kids Your children could get fussy or cry over something going on in the back and that’s OK. Just know that it shall pass. Give them some items they can play with, color with and be content with for as long as possible. For every problem, there is a solution. Letting go of high expectations will make your drive a little more bearable. Happy travels! This story is a part of The Motherly Collective contributor network where we showcase the stories, experiences and advice from brands, writers and experts who want to share their perspective with our community. We believe that there is no single story of motherhood, and that every mother's journey is unique. By amplifying each mother's experience and offering expert-driven content, we can support, inform and inspire each other on this incredible journey. If you're interested in contributing to The Motherly Collective please click here.