To maintain your sanity and arrive safely, here are 10 Tips for Keeping Young Children Occupied During Long Trips in the car or RV.
Are we there yet? Those four words can drive parents crazy, especially on long road trips. Not only can kids start to grate on your nerves on long road trips, it is also a safety issue if the driver is constantly turning around, checking the rear view mirror, or having to pass things back to the children. Did you know that nearly 40% of all accidents are caused by distracted drivers? Check out these tips for staying safe (and sane!) while on a long road trip with young children.
- Bring fun activity bags—these can be in the form of yarn with uncooked noodles to string on (to make necklaces), paper dolls, or anything else that can be stored in a large zip lock bag (for when not in use). These can be simple or complex, depending on the age of your child. *Make sure not to give a young child small pieces that could pose a choking hazard.
- Put on a movie—this is great for a couple hours of peace if your child has a favorite show or movie that can help pass the time. If you don’t want to hear the movie too, then use headsets for your children.
- Bring a handheld electronic device with games on it. Examples include: Kindles, Ipads, Leap Pads, etc. There are lots of free apps that you can load onto these handheld devices that can be anything from educational to fun and games. Remember the headsets for these too, if you would rather not hear them playing them.
- Have kids play the alphabet game with license plates or “I Spy.” These games are last resort for us, since they involve parental involvement to a certain extent (depending on the ages of your children). The alphabet game is for older kids who know their alphabet and who can grasp the concept of going through the alphabet and searching for the letters (on license plates, signs, etc) from A, all the way to Z.
- Books to Read—these can either be downloaded onto the electronic device or the hard copies (if space permits).
- Coloring Books—These are great for kids who do not get car sick and who can keep all of the markers, colored pencils, and crayons in a container (and not all over the car).
- Snacks and Drinks—you will want to pack plenty of car-friendly snacks (nothing too messy) and plenty of drink options (although depending on your children’s bladders, you will want to limit their intake of liquids or time them for right before a pit stop).
- Toys—bring a variety of your child’s favorite toys, minus the noisy varieties. A favorite stuffed animal, pillow pet, or action figure can help with the car ride and also with transitioning to new environment once you arrive at your destination. Have a bag for each kid to keep track of their own toys (ideally this will cut down on the disorganization that can ensue on long trips with kids and their stuff).
- Take plenty of Pit Stops—this is necessary so kids can stretch their legs, run and play, and go potty. Then drive on for a few more hours to your next pit stop.
- Plan to Drive at Night—If you are planning a particularly long road trip, this allows you to drive for longer stretches while the kids sleep. So long as you stay alert and have a co-pilot who will help relieve you when you need a break; this is something we try to do if the car ride is more than 5-6 hours long. Bring along your children’s favorite blankets, pillows, and nighttime snuggle buddies. Once the kids are out for the count, you can bump the music, roll the windows down, and grab a Cup of Joe to help keep you alert while you drive. *When you feel like you are beginning to get drowsy, make sure to stop and rest, or have the other driver take over driving while you rest.
Now that you know all the tricks and tips, you can rest assured that you will arrive safe and with a sound mind: Happy Road Tripping with the Kids!!!