Do you love to travel with your family? Sometimes a road trip can be a thing of beauty for everyone involved. In your dreams, you imagine long miles of family laughter, a few snacks, side trips to see amazing destinations and postcard perfect pictures. But in reality, many road trips unravel before they ever get started. Kids get tired and cranky. Teens get bored and hide behind their phones and adults get irritable. So how can you prepare for a road trip that will be more of a memory maker than an exercise in torture? Here are 3 ways to prepare your child for road trips.
Know your child’s triggers.
Most kids have similar triggers. When they are extra tired or hungry, they will often start to show their feelings by acting out, crying, fussing or being otherwise annoying. Know your child’s triggers and do what you can to eliminate some of them. Do they need to eat every few hours? Then have healthy snacks in the car. Does your child still need a nap? Then do your best to give them some quiet time where they can take a nap when you’re out on vacation. You can’t get rid of all triggers, but you can fix a few things for them. Make sure they get proper rest and food even when you’re out on a road trip.
Prepare for boredom.
If you are doing any long distance travel, be prepared for the famous two words “I’m bored!”. There are many ways to combat this problem. Some families have surprise treats wrapped and ready for the kids every hour. Go to the local thrift store or Dollar Tree before you hit the road and buy cheap toys or gadgets that will keep their attention for a little while. Then wrap them up or hide them in a bag to bring out when boredom is getting bad.
One family had a special prize each time they reached a new state line or landmark. When you are on the road a long time, you need to be ready with something special. Maybe you can listen to a favorite book on cd or provide special sticker books while you’re traveling.
Take stretch breaks.
Kids can only sit in a car for so long before they need to take a restroom break and stretch their leg. One family traveled across the country and would make regular stops at Mcdonald’s playlands. This would give them all a restroom break as well as a fun place for the kids to get an energy release. Dad could get coffee and kids got to play. Win for everyone.
Another family would stop at every rest area. This was a great way to pick up some information about the area they were visiting as well as give the kids time to play a quick game of tag in the grassy areas.
Sometimes it’s fun to just be spontaneous. If you see a roadside marker that catches your eye, then follow it! Maybe you will find the world’s biggest bottle of ketchup or the Jolly Green Giant. Sure, it might slow down your final arrival time, but the experience will become family treasured memories.
Following these tips won’t guarantee a picture perfect vacation, but at least you will be on the right track. Got any tips to help prepare your child for road trips? I’d love to hear!