Traveling with kids

Get some new ideas on taking trips with your kids. Ideas to make the miles fly by, for both of you.

Maybe you are planning a family vacation, or maybe you just want to go visit grandma for the weekend. Whatever the case, make your next car trip your easiest one since you have had kids. The secret to smooth car trips with children is preparation. Of course, there are the basics. Take along some quiet books and toys to play with in the car. Have you considered making a tape for your child? A week before the trip have your child pick out some of his favorite books. When he isn’t around make a tape recording of you reading the books aloud. Don’t give it to him until you are in the car.

Also have a small box (shoebox or empty diaper wipe container) with a few new small inexpensive toys. Good places to find these are in the “party favor” aisle of a superstore, or a drug store or dollar store. Keep the box ready to dole out “prizes” after so many miles or hours in the car. Do not use it as a bribe once your child has already started to misbehave. Stop frequently. I know, our parents made us use the restroom before we left the house and didn’t stop again until we arrived, but by stopping for 15 minutes every three to four hours, you really improve your child’s (and your) outlook. Get out, use the restroom, walk around and have a little snack. Trust me, it’s time well spent, and many kids will remember this as one of the more fun aspects of the trip. Sing travel songs and play games, of course, but remember there is nothing wrong with silence. Let your little one stare out the window as the miles fall away, you may be surprised at how long he amuses himself.
If you make an overnight stay part of your trip, I cannot recommend highly enough choosing a hotel with an indoor pool. Even fifteen or twenty minutes splashing around with mom or dad before bed may be enough to get him back in the car willingly the next morning. The most difficult thing about extended road trips are the prolonged periods of inactivity, so take every opportunity to fit some exercise into you child’s day. By breaking up your trip into segments, and having a few surprises, as well as some familiar things for him to enjoy, you should plan to have your best trip ever!

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