The idea of taking kids on a long-distance car ride is enough to make most parents groan. But with a little planning and preparation, you can make it an enjoyable experience for everyone. Because at the end of the day, a road trip is not only a journey from here to there, but it’s also a great opportunity to make memories with your children.
Here are some tips to help you out:
Try an old-fashioned game. Remember the alphabet game? Looking for license plates? Travel bingo? Check the site MomsMinivan.com for lots of great games and printouts to entertain your children on the drive. Also, don’t forget about singing songs, crossword puzzles, and I Spy.
Bring lots of healthy snacks. Children are always better behaved when they are well fed. Bring along a cooler to keep your food fresh, and make sure you have enough liquids to keep everyone hydrated. Some ideas for great snacks include cheese sticks, veggies, sandwiches, snack mix, fruit, and trail mix.
Plan in time to stop frequently. Little ones struggle to sit still for a long period of time, so plan on stopping often to let them stretch their legs.
Talk. You’ve got the kids trapped, so get them talking. See if you can find a list of conversation starters online, or bring up old memories. My family also enjoys a game of Would You Rather.
Listen to audio books. There is nothing like an audio book to help pass the time. You can find these at your local library. Some libraries even let you download the books straight to your computer for a window of time. Also, try librivox.org for audio readings of public domain books that are free to download. Check your local library for additional resources. My library not only had books and books on CD, but they also had a device that looked like a small phone that read stories to my children. For those that don’t have a tablet, this could be a great option. Ask your librarian if she has any tips.
Make it a journey as well as a trip. Find places to stop along the way that your children will enjoy. Stop and see that big ball of twine. Pull out a Frisbee or bubbles at a rest stop. Even a routine stop can become a memory with a little bit of preparation.
Pack an emergency kit. Kids get sick, have bathroom accidents, and spill food. It just happens sometimes. So pack a small, accessible kit to counteract these situations. Some things to include could be a change of clothes, trash bags, hand sanitizer, and paper towels.
Make a trip playlist. Prepare songs that your kids will enjoy. They might be some happy songs to distract your kids, or some songs from their favorite shows, or even a lullaby soundtrack for naptime. Music has a powerful affect on kidsso use it to your benefit.
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