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.
- Purchase travel-sized games for your kids. Most popular games, like Trouble and Connect 4 can be found in smaller versions.
- Go to the dollar store and buy some crayons, colouring books, crossword puzzles and activity books.
- 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.
- Most kids love music and love singing. Pack along your family’s favourite CD’s and have singing contests and sing alongs.
- 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.
- Go to the library and check out some books on CD. It can be enjoyable to listen to a funny, entertaining story together.
- 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.
- 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.
- Bring along a first-aid kit.
- Have an accessible change of clothes for each child “just in case.”
- Games such as I Spy, Rock Paper Scissors and watching for different States and Provinces on license plates are also good traditional car games.
- 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.