Are We There Yet?

Are you planning a road trip with your children?  Sitting still in the car for hours isn’t an easy feat for a child.  Road trips can be fun and filled with wonderful memories, but they can also be quite stressful.  If you are about to embark on a family trip, follow these tips on how to entertain kids in the car and make your next trip a great one.

  1. Purchase travel-sized games for your kids.  Most popular games, like Trouble and Connect 4 can be found in smaller versions.
  2. Go to the dollar store and buy some crayons, colouring books, crossword puzzles and activity books.
  3. For longer trips it’s okay to rely on electronic devices- either handheld, or a portable DVD player so you can play movies.  If possible, make sure each child has their own to avoid arguments.
  4. Most kids love music and love singing.  Pack along your family’s favourite CD’s and have singing contests and sing alongs.
  5. Make enough stops so that kids can get out of the car, go to the bathroom and stretch their legs.  Even taking 30 minutes to stop at a neighbourhood park can make the long trip easier.  It will help ease fidgetiness and will be a good release of energy.
  6. Go to the library and check out some books on CD.  It can be enjoyable to listen to a funny, entertaining story together.
  7. Let each child pack a small bag of their own favourite things.  This can include a favourite blanket, pillow or stuffed animal.  It can also include some favourite toys, books or activities.
  8. Pack lots of snacks- healthy and junky.  A family road trip is a time to break some of those health conscious rules.  If you’re going to eat in the car, it’s a good idea to pack some wipes for clean up and a garbage bag to keep everything off the floor.
  9. Bring along a first-aid kit.
  10. Have an accessible change of clothes for each child “just in case.”
  11. Games such as I Spy, Rock Paper Scissors and watching for different States and Provinces on license plates are also good traditional car games.
  12. Map out your route ahead of time with your children and give them different landmarks and points of interest to look for.  Make it a contest.

Taking a road trip with the whole family involves planning and thinking ahead.  But if you take everyone into consideration, pack appropriately and go with a sense of humour, you will create unforgettable memories, have a great experience and come out of it a survivor!

Susan Lieberman is in private practice in Toronto as a family therapist and public speaker. For more information call (416) 512-6356.

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