It’s a truth universally acknowledged that small children and road trips don’t mix. However, before you give up and resign yourself to hours of backseat complaining, you should know that there are a few tricks you can use to keep everyone at least semi-calm during the drive.
Bring Entertainment for the Kids
Consider it an inevitability that your children will complain about boredom at some point. The good news is that you can stop the worst of the whining before it even begins by packing plenty of toys, games and electronics to keep them occupied during the journey. If you don’t have room for a lot of extras, a smartphone with pre-loaded games will do in a pinch.
Have Snacks Ready
Hunger is no one’s friend, and that includes both parents and children. Kids will need something to tide them over when their regular mealtime schedule has been interrupted; adults will appreciate having something to munch on to stay focused and attentive while on the road. If nothing else, it’s better to pack too many snacks than not enough, so don’t be afraid to bring more than you think you need.
It’s difficult to punish your children for misbehavior when you’re all cramped in the same car. What are you going to do, send them to their room? Try positive reinforcement instead, and offer them special incentives or treats if they can exhibit good conduct during a long journey. For example, tell them you’ll stop for chocolate bars if they can quit poking their siblings for the next hour.
Check Your Vehicle
How’s your tire pressure? Have you changed the oil recently? Do you have a toolbox packed just in case something goes wrong on the road? Are the brakes functional? A specialist from Evans Tire & Service Centers says brakes that make a loud, squealing sound every time they’re engaged indicate that something is wrong. If you’re hearing this squealing, it might be time to get your brakes checked. Preparation is a key component in having a good road trip, so make sure you’re stocking the trunk, looking under the hood and checking your tires before you actually set out.
Stop the car at periodic intervals and let everyone stretch their legs. Not only will you get a much-needed breath of fresh air, but your kids will have the chance to run around and expend some of their energy, too. If you play your cards right, they might even nap for the next 50 miles or so.
These are just a few tips for keeping your family calm and entertained during your next road trip. Remember, you’re traveling for a reason! Don’t let yourself get so stressed that you need a vacation from your vacation.