“Are we there yet?”
“I have to go to the bathroom!”
These are the dreaded phrases you don’t want to hear while you’re on the road with the kids, which can be a truly trying experience if they can’t stand being in a cramped car for hours on end. There are ways to keep them from losing their minds (and you from losing yours) while you make your way along the highway. Here are a few things that’ll make family travel a breeze.
There’s no reason to go hungry or stop for fast food along the way. You’ll keep everyone’s belly full and save a bundle of cash by making some car-friendly snacks yourself. There are the old standbys, such as peanut butter and jelly, or more exciting treats, such as crackers and veggies with a savory hummus dip, wraps and protein boxes. Want more? Parents magazine has got you covered.
Potty breaks shouldn’t be a problem, as you need to stop regularly anyway. That gives everyone a chance to stretch their legs, but the most important reason to do so is safety, as regular stops helps avoid the fatigue that can result in accidents. The Automobile Association recommends a pause every two to three hours for about 15 minutes to recharge and relieve your weary eyes.
From concrete dinosaurs to giant scrap-metal birds, there are plenty of wild and wacky sights not far from America’s highways that make a welcome break from the road, say the folks at lifestyle magazine BestLife. Many of them are designed with kids in mind, like the giant elephant in New Jersey that you can climb inside. Treat your little ones to a kid-friendly digital camera so they can capture their memories of exploring and sight-seeing, and they’ll be thrilled every time you say it’s time to pull over. It may add a bit of time to your trip, but you’ll create additional happy memories.
You won’t hear a peep from the backseat if the kids have their hands occupied, so grab backpacks for the little ones, and fill them with whatever they love to do. Crayons and coloring books are a must, as well as a collection of arts and crafts.
A laptop or tablet will come in handy when the kids get tired with the crafts and coloring, and it’s not hard to find movies that set the mood for adventure. The Madagascar series will keep them entertained for hours enjoying the antics of Alex the lion and Marty the zebra as they try to make their way back to New York from the eponymous island. Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobeis a wonderful selection as well.
Time Out magazine has compiled a playlist of 50 road-trip songs that’ll keep everyone upbeat even when the road gets to be a drag. You can also tap into sites such as Spotify to create your own list to rock out to while you are behind the wheel.
You probably remember Mad Libs from your own road trips as a kid, and they’re still a fun, family-friendly activity all these years later. These short stories with key words missing from them leave your family to fill in the blanks with a noun, verb, adjective or adverb before even reading it, so you’re bound to come up with kooky stories to share that will keep everyone entertained.
With ideas like these, the trip may be even more fun than the destination. Be sure to restock on snacks and crafts before the trip home, so that boredom doesn’t rear its ugly head at the end of your vacation. Happy trails!
Image via Pexels.
Daniel Sherwin created DadSolo to provide other dads with resources that will help them better equip themselves on single parenthood. He is currently living with his two kids: a 9 y/o daughter and 6 y/o son.