How to Keep Your Kids Happy on a Road Trip
Road trips present some of the most fun times you can ever have! You are probably thinking of the good old days when you were still in uni, or when you young and single, but who’s to say that you can’t have a great road trip now that you have a family? In fact, if I think about it, road trips with my parents were some of the most exciting memories I have as a kid. I cannot vouch for them, though!
Still, if you loved road trips when you didn’t have kids, you probably will still enjoy them now. Understandably, quite a few adjustments will have to be made, especially if your kids are the kind who do not like being cooped up in the car for hours. That’s where a little creativity can go a long way.
Yearning to hit the road and relive (somehow) the old days? Here are some tips to make that road trip (within or outside the country, it doesn’t matter!) with your kids a happy reality.
Plan your stops.
This might be one big compromise that you will have to make. If, during the road trips of old, you threw planning to the wind, you have to realize that this might not work with kids. You were an adult with little or no responsibilities back then, but kids do have a way of dumping some responsibility on us. So, instead of going on a totally unplanned discovery of a road trip, you might have to do some planning. For example, choose a route where you will have options to stop – places that will catch your kids’ interest. It may be a rest stop, a quaint roadside cafe, or a national park. Just make sure you time your stops right so that the kids don’t get all fidgety in the car.
Bring quiet books.
Quiet books have saved the sanity of many a parent with kids in the car. That’s not to say that the idea will work for every kid, but depending on the age and nature of your children, quiet books have a lot of advantages. If you child does not have a quiet book yet, you might want to create one specially for him/her. Alternatively, visit your favorite bookstore and see what catches your child’s interest.
Some parents might disagree, but I see no harm in allowing kids play with gadgets such as tablets while on a road trip. After all, you do need some time to rest yourself, and leaving the kids to play by themselves is necessary. The trick is in loading those gadgets with apps that are beneficial to your kids. Digital picture books, educational games, and the like – they will make happy kids.
Use the right car.
Whether you use your own car, or you rent a car, it is important that you choose a car that can accommodate everyone very comfortably. Do your research well for car rentals so you don’t end up on the losing end.
Engage your kids!
This could very well be the most important thing. Going on a road trip is all about a good mix of adventure and enjoying the company of each other. Hence, it really does not make sense to rely on books and games to keep your kids happy on a road trip. At the end of the day, it is how you interact with them that will make the difference. Remember being a kid. There were times when the attention of your parents was all that mattered, yes? So, whether you’re visiting the next town’s pumpkin patch, or you’re out discovering the great American outdoors, or you’re heading over to the beach, the main thing to remember is that the road trip is for the whole family to spend time together.