Keeping the kids in check on trips
Since we’re heading into the holiday season, perhaps we need a few reminders before taking those holiday trips. A lot of families make those long drives to visit friends and family over the holidays. It’s always a nice time when we all get together, but how do you keep your kids in check on these long trips? Do you have any tricks to keep them somewhat quiet? If not, maybe these tips can help.
The first thing you’ll need to do is plan your trip. Not only will you need to plan the roads to take, but where you can take those breaks. Your kids need to go to the washroom and stretch their legs every hour or so. Since the weather is getting colder, it may be a good thing to find a warm place to take the break. It’ll also help them burn off some of that bottled up energy they have from sitting still for the last hour. If you can find a place that can allow them to run around for 10 minutes or so, that would be the best place for a break.
Between those pit stops, you’ll need items in the vehicle that can keep them occupied. The younger the kids you have with you, the more variety of items you’ll need to have. Some items that may work to occupy your kids would include; books, electronic games, puzzles, music (with kids in mind and not you!) and if you’re able, movies on DVD.
Since your kids may be excited to travel the moment you get into the vehicle, save these items for later in the trip. Use the early travel time to talk about the trip and to look outside the windows at the scenery. Involve your kids with the trip and the time will fly by. Go deep inside your memory bank and pull out those driving songs we did when we were kids. It may also help if you learn some of the kid’s songs before you leave on your trip.
Once the kids begin to whine or get restless between pit stops, it’s time to start with the items you’ve brought along with you. Keep the items a surprise for them until you need them. In other words, don’t let them know what you’ve brought to keep them busy. The added surprise of the items will help keep them occupied for a while.
The job of the driver is to stay focused on driving and to remove the distractions. With this in mind, I believe it’s the driver’s decision as to when the kids should begin to get the items. Don’t forget that snacks are also a good distraction for the kids. It will often quiet them down so the driver can concentrate on their driving.
The best ‘tool’ to keep the kids quiet and interested is books on tape. I’m sure if you check your local public library, you’ll be able to find a large enough selection to occupy your child. Just be sure the driver isn’t occupied with the story as well!