Do you remember that last road trip you took with the kids? Did it turn out the way you planned? If you are one of the few lucky ones and it did, you need not read any further.
If you’re like the rest of us and wish you had a dollar for every time you heard “Are we there yet?” then continue reading. Going on a vacation that requires a long road trip can take its toll on kids, which in turn takes a toll on the parents.
Are you tired of having to tell one of the kids if they don’t stop hitting their sister that you are going to pull over and make them walk?
My mom used to tell us kids this all the time, at least until we got old enough to know she wouldn’t really do it. Then, we would always call her bluff and tell her to pull over. She never did.
Being cooped up in the car with all the kids for five or six hours or sometimes even more, depending on where you’re going can be a test of your nerves.
Some parents will even drive two or three days to get to a destination, be it the kids’ grandparents or some historical site. Listed below are some ideas to help make your road trip with your kids much more enjoyable.
Outfit the Car
In an effort to make the car as comfortable as possible for the kids you can do several things. It seems that one of the biggest complaints kids have is that it is either too hot or too cold for one of them; if one is just right the other is too cold and so on.
Place a blanket where each child will sit. They can sit on it in the car and then it will be available if they get too cold; on the flip side of this dilemma you can buy battery operated fans in case one of them gets too hot.
In addition to these temperature control measures it would be a good idea to put sun shades on the back windows to keep the sun out of the kid’s eyes. Also you have a pillow for each of the kids. The best pillow for the child sitting in the middle is a neck pillow.
Along with outfitting the car, this is one of the most important things you can do to make your road trip successful.
Pull out the map before you go and plan your route so you are taking the most scenic route. In addition, with kids you will be needing to stop every two or three hours; look for interesting places to stop and plan accordingly.
It is no fun to stop at some plain old roadside service station when you can stop at some lakeside park or historical diner. Plan your route and stops based on these exciting places.
Not only is it important that the car is made comfortable, but the kids themselves need to be comfortable. Let the kids wear their most comfortable clothes.
If this ends up being an over sized t-shirt, pajama bottoms and their slippers, so be it. It is not going to hurt anything and they will be much more comfortable and less likely to complain.
Make sure each of the children have a sweatshirt or jacket with them so that if they get cold they can slip it on; these can also be used to cover up to go into a rest shop.
If your kids are like most kids, they will fight over where to sit, so create a seating schedule. Figure out how long the trip will take and divide this by the number of kids.
For example, if the trip is going to take 12 hours and you have four kids they all get to sit in a specific seat, changing every three hours to one of the other seats. This way they all get a chance to sit in every seat.
Give each child a plastic grocery bag or you can make cloth bags for them, and have them fill it with things they want to do in the car.
Tell them that anything that does not fit in the bag has to be packed. Give each of them extra batteries to put in their bag.
Bring chalk, bucket stilts, inflatable beach ball and a jump rope so when you stop the kids can get a little exercise before you get back in the car.
A bag of snacks is a must, as well as something they can drink. Snacks that work well in the car are string cheese, raisins, rice cakes, cookies, pretzels, bananas, bagels, granola bars, sandwiches, apple slices, cereal and puffed corn snacks. Keep a cooler in the trunk with water, juice and whatever else the kids like to drink.
There are several car games that you can play. Make sure you get a list of them and have them with you to keep the kids busy.
Also, if the kids enjoy puzzles you can have some made for free with the words you want in them. For example, look up some of the sites you will be seeing on your road trip, go to the puzzles link they will make up a puzzle with these words in it.