Taking a trip or an extended vacation with your family is a great way to spend quality time together. But the travel part can be stressful, especially if you’re stuck in the car for hours. No matter how old your kids are, it’s important to keep them busy during the drive. Here are seven tips to survive the inevitable “are we there yet?” questions.
- Do as much packing and planning as you can before you leave That morning will not be as hectic, and you can allow the kids to run around and play before confining them to the back seat. They’ll be able to get out a lot of energy and possibly fall asleep during some part of the trip. Your pre-drive planning should include finding rest stops with food and bathrooms along the way and places that have playgrounds for the kids to let off more steam.
- Find places that have parks or open spaces where you can have a picnic It will save you on the overall traveling costs and you can bring healthier food options. And the kids will be able to run around and explore some place new. Be sure to take lots of pictures that the kids can look at when you get back in the car.
- Prepare a backpack for each child with their favorite toys…… Books, games, music, handheld devices and snacks. There will be plenty of time to do things together, so allow each child some “me” time during the drive. It will keep arguments to a minimum and give them the option of choosing whatever they want to do.
- Bring a DVD that the whole family can enjoy There are plenty of players these days with screens big enough to watch a movie that won’t break the bank. And if the kids can’t decide on a movie to watch, let them each have a turn with it to choose their own movie. Their siblings have their individual bags to keep them occupied for a while.
- Playing games is another good way to pass the time There are classic board games you can play that are available in smaller sizes specifically made for the car, or you can play something simpler like car Bingo. That way you can make up your own cards and it only requires a marker to play. And everyone can join in, looking for all sorts of items or landmarks along the way. You can also try something different and ask the kids how far they think they’ve gone. Utilize the car’s trip computer, which most vehicles have in their dashboard. Research different options at your local car dealer.
- Buy dry erase boards for each child…… And have them write about or draw interesting things they see along the drive. At each rest stop compare notes and see if anyone noticed something different, or described or drew the same object in a unique manner. Have small prizes wrapped up, like travel-size snacks or cheap toys, and give them to the child who produced the most on their board. By the end of the trip they can count up their loot and decide among themselves who was the winner of the car trip.
- Make sure you have a first aid kit that includes “complete kits” Like blankets and motion sickness medication. It’s also a good idea to have a separate bag or box with supplies such as paper plates and cups, sippy cups for younger kids, plastic utensils, paper towels, and baby wipes. Keep a trash bag handy, especially if one of your kids starts to feel sick.
Most importantly, though, remember to enjoy yourselves!