Surviving a summer trip with kids takes planning, plenty of sleep and LOTS of patience. It is usually about 30 minutes into the ride when you hear a tiny voice call from the back of the seat “mommy, are we close”? If your like me you don’t want to lie or ignore them, but you really do not want to hear that the whole time.
So I will say “We will be closer after one of your movies or activities”. Then comes the “ok” and we wait for another hour.
All of the activities in the world will probably not stop this question from coming on a long summer trip. Thinking back, on road trips with my parents I may have brought a book to read, but as soon as it was finished I’m sure that the location questions began.
My children will have their electronics packed, coloring crayons and drawing materials, books, and a few car games. then I bring some CD’s and DVD’s for the last part of the trip. All of these toys and distractions will help them get through some of the trip, but not all of it. As soon as they see the full activity bags they will want to know how long the summer trip is going to take.
A short summer trip does not require as much attention, but longer ones will need definite parent
intervention to ward off any constant questions. Our longest trip was 14 hours…we made it. By the end of it we all ran out of the car and headed into the house just to be in an open space *smile*.
Summer Trip Road Strategies:
- Make a quick schedule of breaks and maybe an attraction to see on the way. It may take longer getting there but it will help the kids to not start whining or get bored so easily.
- Give them their own maps, and have them draw a route even if they can’t read have them look at and play a game with the map.
- Let them know the breaks an hour before they happen.
- Remember what it was like when you were a kid. Emphathize with the kids and detour them to one of their activities.
- Change activities frequently. Don’t let them get bored of an activity. if they are coloring, then after 30 min. switch to an audio book that everyone can listen to in the car.
- Play a car game. Example: I spy. Riddlee Riddlee Ree I see something you don’t see. Or play a license plate game. Those are a lot of fun. Sing as a family.
- Sit in the back and play, read, hold or talk to the kids. They are bored. You are probably bored. This will help especially if you are in the middle of the trip or close to the end.
- Have an older child sit and give one on one time with a younger child. If you have a baby in the car around crawling age they love attention from siblings. Be creative, make it a game to see who can keep baby entertained the longest.
- It is ok to be bored for awhile….this is when creativity will take over. Let them have some creative time with no busy work.
Remembering The Moments:
Finally, remember how much you love them and this summer trip is about them too. Not just throwing them in the back with activities to keep them busy. Yes, I used to have that mindset. Now on family trips I bring one book to read at naptime, or bedtime in the car.
Change how you think and plan the summer trip and the kids will change how they react and behave on the trip no matter how young they are.
Parents get focused on the final destination for the summer trip but there is a lot to see and remember along the way. Give the children fun memories of the trip.
List some ways you keep your children busy on the summer trip in the comments.