Keeping kids entertained to curb their restlessness can be challenging at home, and even more so on a family road trip with them. But don’t let this stop you from going on an adventure together and to share the experience of the many wonders the world has to offer. Before hitting the road with your little ones, be prepared, and have a couple of tricks up your sleeve for a smooth run.
There’s no need to dread long trips with toddlers and preschoolers in tow. Be realistic and expect that there may be a couple of glitches here and there, but here are a couple of basic pointers to remember to keep everyone (including, yes, you) happy and safe on the road.
Being Prepared for Emergencies
Assemble a First aid kit and a roadside emergency kit stocked with food, water and blankets. Bring frozen juice boxes, and pack large zip-loc bags to hold soiled garments. Have a list of emergency contacts—your child’s paediatrician, your GP, trusted friends and relatives, plus a reliable contact for roadside emergencies.
Pack healthy snacks with you, and don’t make being on the road an excuse for eating poorly, even if the drive thru sounds like a great way to feed the troops. Prepare sandwiches or slice up some fruit, which can be stored in containers and left in a cooler, pack some nuts or baked bread. Preparing your own food is also very cost effective.
Research Your Routes and Mark Pit Stops for Breaks
Take note of restaurants, diners or roadside attractions for breaks on the long drive. Who knows, you might discover new favourite spots worth coming back to!
“The important thing is that the kids burn off some energy. The more active they are outside the car, the more likely they are to fall asleep inside,” said Lia Batkin of In The Know Experiences, a travel consulting agency.
With smartphones, tablets, 24/7 mobile internet and with built in car entertainment systems to play games, watch movies and cartoons, it really isn’t much of a challenge to keep kids occupied for hours on long road trips. But as we know less screen time is a great way to make their imagination and creativity run wild—the old school way.
If you’re the type of parent or guardian who wants to minimise their kids’ screen time and use technology judiciously, it’s a good idea to pack some cheap toys such as stickers, dolls, a magnifying glass, and others.
Make a handy Travel activity kit. Some ideas on what to include are uploaded on kidsactivitiesblog.com. You may skip the “noise makers,” if you feel that it would distract and annoy the adults or the assigned driver in the long run, should your kid decide that it’s his or her favourite toy for the rest of the trip. Bringing car-friendly craft supplies is another novel idea. Lisa Milbrand who wrote for familyvacationcritic.com said she swears by origami paper folding kits. Other good ideas are supplies for making friendship bracelets.
Image Source: mamapapabubba.com
Another opportunity for some delightful playtime for your kid is to make a Portable Lego Kit which could be assembled with a small lunch box or tote, and a couple of lego pieces.
Give them Your Full Attention at Opportune Times
A long road trip is a very good opportunity for you to know your kid in so many different ways—the way they react to certain situations, how patient they are, what they find amusing, and so many others. It goes vice versa; this is a chance for them to get to know you in a whole new kind of way in the same breadth. Take turns asking each other questions, really talk to them and listen.
Having long road trips with your young ones could easily become one of your most favourite family activities to create lasting, happy memories. We hope you have a great one soon!