Already anticipating (or dreading) car travel with the kids this holiday season?
It’s true, it’s never easy, but there are ways to make it more bearable – and create some fun memorable moments that you’ll look back on fondly! Here are four of them:
Break the Trip Up
Do you ever feel like your bladder and need to move are starting to mirror your toddler’s?
Bathroom and stretching breaks are essential for all ages. Our bodies are made to move. Kids and adults alike need to be physically active throughout the day, and sitting in the car for a long time is uncomfortable and unnatural. While you may reach your destination a bit later because of the extra stops, you’ll arrive at your destination in a more pleasant, energized and less tense mood having released some stored up energy on mini-breaks. Plus, they sell snacks at gas stations.
Plan for Fun Inside the Car
Save these for those, “Are we there yet?” moments, because they will come.
A family sing-along can be fun for 20 minutes, but when your ears and head need a rest, you’ll be prepared with coloring books and colored pencils. Flashcards for colors, shapes, foods, animals, numbers, letters, etc. for the younger kiddos can be engaging and educational and serve as a great distraction when they’re getting anxious for a rest stop.
Try a game of “I Spy,” and the alphabet game – calling out in order the letters of the alphabet as you spot them on license plates and signs can hold kids’ attention for a while, especially when spelled backward!
Pick up some great kids books on DVD at your local library or try audible listening through your smartphone. If you aren’t interested in the kids’ novel, let them use headphones on a tablet so you can play your novel through the car speakers. Just be sure to download them before you hit the road!
Pack the Game Bag Together
Get the kiddos involved in packing their entertainment kit without overloading it!
They’ll learn there are limits to what can be packed and brought along. By giving them a set number of games they can pick, it not only lets them choose the ones they are most interested in, but it also forces them to learn how to be decisive.
Just be sure to keep one or two activities a surprise … for those “just in case” boredom strikes.
Keep Them Busy with Healthy Snacks
Everyone feels and behaves better when nourished and hydrated. Pack a cooler with water, individual milk boxes and cold herbal tea blends made the day before and stored in water bottles.
Healthy snacks like prewashed grapes, carrots with hummus, whole grain cereal, trail mix, fruit and premade sandwiches save money and time. Avoid arguments by only packing the snacks they like. Have designated snack times to avoid unhealthy constant snacking and the tantrum for the candy bar at the gas station. If they’re not hungry, don’t force them to eat.
If you can use some of the above tricks, you won’t have to wonder how you’ll survive those lengthy holiday roadtrips with the kids. Now you’re positioned to turn your next trip into quality family time! Just plan ahead, and stay positive!