You pull out of the driveway and your two-year old pinches the baby awake. He screams at full throttle while the four year old begins the “Are we there yet?” chant. (Thoughts of a soundproof partition are all you can think about).
Yup, it’s the road trip. But take heart, we are armed with some savvy reader tips (and many thanks to all of you who sent them in) for travel to make the drive a bit more manageable.
Timing is Everything
Avoid rush hour. Have kids fed and ready for bed or nap time before you buckle them up. Less noise means less stress which means more safe.
Eye on the Prize
For very long trips, a good old fashioned bribe for good behaviour never hurts. Constant reminders about that swim, ice cream or dinner at the favourite resto give the whole family something to look forward to when things get a bit hairy.
Think Patience, not Patients
Pit stops give the kids a chance to run around and burn energy. Stick some balloons in your pocket and reach for them at each stop (they each get their own so no fighting). This is also a great time to deal with the mess on your car floor (yuck). Teach the kids to take out their own garbage at each stop if they want to get out of the car.
Nosh—the What, When and How
Snacks and drinks can be constant. They keep blood sugars up and are a good distraction. Stock a small cooler with a few snacks that are not normally allowed and some that are (like apples and carrots). As always, avoid too much sugar. Containers with small compartments make snacking more fun and easily sorted. You might hate the mess, but it is actually better to eat in the car and save the pit stops for running around.
Games People Play
DVD’s are a given, but for those of us not into screens or for when your two hours is up, think back to ‘the olden days’ and try some games. Eye Spy, and Roadside Alphabet (call out letters of the alphabet in order as you see them out the window—whoever reaches ‘Z’ first wins) and Who Am I? are some of the faves sent in by our readers.
Another ‘novel’ idea—go to the library and take out a book and cassette tape. Print word search games and activities from websites like Funbrain.com. A Mapquest print-out with directions is good for older kids to follow (and might keep the are-we-there-yet questions at bay).
Let them pack their own activity bags for the trip filled with some new toys and books from the dollar store. For longer trips, pop in a new surprise toy each day (even if it’s from a fast food joint).
And don’t forget our man Dan (Zanes, that is).
Flying? We’ve got that covered too.
Good luck, have fun and be safe!
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