How do I Survive a Road Trip with my Kids?
I can barely remember the days when it was just me and my husband in my car. In those days we would be cruising along on a summer evening, a quaint, mid-western landscape dancing by and I would ask him what he was thinking about. He’d answer with something profoundly male, like. “I’m thinking about those yellow markings on the road, Aimee.” Really? You can think about those?
Yes, our life today is very different. 4 kids, a mini-van and never a dull moment during a road trip. Here is a quick list of ideas to answer the question: How Do I Survive a Road Trip With my Kids?
1) The iPads.
I have a friend, who one summer only let her kids use electronics ONLY while on the road. The rest of the time they were forced to run, play and climb trees. When it was time to hop in the car to their next destination on their summer trip, the kids were perfect angels and she had a peaceful few hours to herself. It’s brilliant!
2) The Bag of Toys
I will often give my kids a 15 minute warning before the car is packed and we are ready to roll. They have 15 minutes to put together a bag or backpack of toys. These bags end up being their entertainment in the car. They are not grumbling for the moment and Mama is happy.
3) A Book
If it’s a short trip or if I have completely forgotten to give everyone the 15-minute warning I will tell everyone to grab a book or two. The older kids grab one they are reading and the younger kids might grab several. In the car you will find them swapping books and reading to each other. Again, much better than bickering.
As we all know, the MINUTE you begin a road trip someone yells out, “I’m hungry.” Or, “I’ve got to go potty!” A bag of healthy and not-too-crumbly snacks is a perfect provision for a time like this. And it is also a distraction. When my kids are prone to falling asleep in the car because of closeness to nap-time and I really want to keep them awake so I can get them into their crib at home, I just provide a snack. It keeps them awake and keeps them quiet.
5) Games & Songs
Lastly, there are a myriad of games you can play on a road trip. And oodles of songs you can sing or listen to. We take turns making up riddles, playing “I Spy”, looking for certain kinds of cars or items in the surrounding scenery and making up stories. We sing songs with rounds, listen to songs and even make up silly songs. The sky’s the limit!
Now, in the perfect world you just whip out this handy what-to-do-with-my-kids-on-a-roadtrip list, wield it on your next road trip–and voila, your kids will behave like angels! Well yes…this world is simply not a perfect place. As you well know, one of your kids will just hate the snacks you chose. Another will throw a fit at the song you are singing, while the oldest will just be staring you down as if you are an alien mother from outer space.
It won’t be perfect, that’s for sure. But you might just have some success and a bit more fun on your next road trip. We’d love to hear your road trips tips for kids, too. Send them over!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (2/3/2017) Deb (Flickr)