Family road trips can be a wonderful experience with plenty of bonding opportunities, but without proper preparation, everything can turn into a live nightmare in less than a split-second! Kids get bored easily, so you have to provide them with various entertainment possibilities. That if you want them sitting patiently in the back seat for hours on a row. But it’s not just about entertainment! When it comes to car trips, kids are a lot more pretentious than adults.
We have had first-hand experience, and our trip taught us a few tricks we’d like to share with other parents. So, if you’re looking to take your bundles of joy on a long trip, check out the mistakes below and how to avoid them.
Consider Everyone’s Snack Preferences
When it comes to snacks and toys, you should always consider each kid’s preferences. A road trip is not the time to reinforce the healthy snacks rule!
So, if you know the kids love chips or chocolate, make sure to have some in the car. Transform their most-desired snacks and toys into rewards for good behaviour, and this way you’ll have them eating the healthy options as well.
Don’t Forget to Plan Stops
Do you remember how you felt the last time you drove for six hours straight? Well, now think how a child feels! Kids are not used to staying put for long and they need to take breaks from time to time. So, before you start the trip, have a look at possible stopping points on the road.
Stop for a burger or to admire a beautiful view and everyone will be less tense and a lot happier at the destination. Sure, this will add a few hours to your trip, but you can start on a positive note.
Don’t Leave the Tech at Home
Unless you know for sure your kids can enjoy themselves with books and magazines, you shouldn’t leave the tablets and phones at home. Kids nowadays can spend hours chatting online, listening to music, or watching YouTube, which means they’ll stay put in the car.
Of course, when you reach the destination, you should ask them to spend less time glued to their phones and more time admiring the beauties around. We had a rule that always worked wonders: while in the car, you can spend as much time as you want on your phone, but when we get at the destination, all technology will be handed over until we leave.
Don’t dismiss the Power of Games
Tablets and phones can lose signal or power, but there are a plethora of cat games you can use to keep the little ones entertained. “The I spy…” game is great but so is the License Plate Game. You should also consider playing cards or singing road trip songs.
Older kids may be a little fussy about playing ‘stupid’ games or singing, but they’ll join in the fun, eventually.
Don’t Get Lost
Have you ever tried to find your car in a crowded parking lot? It’s a total nightmare without the finder function!
Now imagine how difficult it can be for kids to find the family car in a strange place! To avoid kids getting confused by other similar cars, we decided on private registration and chose a combination that’s easy to recognize and remember even by a four-year-old.
Kids can get easily confused and the group can get separated in a crowded store or at a gas station. So, to avoid any bad experiences, make the car as easily identifiable as possible. Then teach them to look for those signs if they ever get lost or confused.
Don’t Rely Only on Fast-Food
It’s easy to fall victim to the fast-food industry when you’re on vacation. Fast-food chains are cheap, accessible, and the kids love them! But after a few days on burgers and fries, you’ll start noticing a change in behaviour and you may even get sick if you’re not used to such a heavy diet.
We like to go to local markets and will always stop for a food truck rather than a McDonalds, but there are other options to try. The idea is to keep the menu varied and combine the options at your disposal.