Have you ever been on a road trip that felt like it would never end because your kids asked you “when are we getting there” once too often?
Well I have and whilst it’s highly unlikely I’ll have to deal with that again as my children are almost finished school, I feel your pain so I’ve come up with some ideas you should try next time the open road calls your name.
- If space allows, pack the kids’ pillows and their favourite soft toy so that they’re comfortable and can rest when they are able. Snuggling can be as effective as a lullaby.
- If you can afford it, set up a DVD player and monitors in the back seats. We did this for a long trip and it worked wonders at keeping the kids distracted. However I would strongly recommend that the play list be agreed upon prior to departure, as I have had to referee many backseat fights over whose movie is next.
- Other electronic distractions include hand-held devices such as PSPs, tablets and even cell phones as these have lots of games available. If you have lots of devices with you, don’t forget all the chargers. In fact I would suggest having a carefully organised bag with all the electronic paraphernalia to avoid losing anything. Don’t forget you still have the return trip to endure!
- If you don’t particularly like using electronic devices to entertain you kids, put together a basic craft kit before you leave and let your kids’ imaginations go wild while you drive. For obvious reasons, glitter shouldn’t be the star of the show!
- Audio books are wonderful distractions for young kids so if you don’t have these at home, visit your nearest library for a selection that you can choose from.
- Wrap a few inexpensive presents and let the kids choose one after every couple of hours. Kids enjoy playing with something new a lot longer than something they’ve had for a while and if anything, these will be a great way to incentivize good behaviour.
- Where’s Waldo and I Spy books are a must. Pack a few of these for some quiet time in the car.
- Play a game of 20 questions! Never played? All you need to do is think of a person, place, or thing, and let everyone take a turn to ask you a “yes” or “no” question until someone guesses what you are thinking of. It’s a fun and easy way to keep kids busy.
- If you’re traveling at night and you can’t get your kids to sleep, glow sticks are an awesome way to keep them happy. They are somewhat mesmerizing when waved about and if you can find the ones that can be made into shapes, those are even more enchanting.
- If you’re a tad nervous of craft supplies in your car, dry wipe activity books can be an alternative. Pack a few extra dry wipe pens in case the ones provided with the books dry out and don’t forget the wipes.
- Card games like Uno are so much fun. I have played this with my kids for hours so on a road trip, if there is space in the backseat, I would even sit with them for a change of scenery.
- Stock up on pipe cleaners and let your kids mould these into whatever shape takes their fancy.
The list of road trip distractions is never ending but you know what your kids like, so choose activities you know will work for them, and be prepared for those.
And remember, road trips are what memories are made of so keep your sense of humour in check and don’t sweat the small stuff so that when the open road calls your name again, you won’t run screaming in the opposite direction.
Written by Isabelle de Grandpre, Neat Freak