4 strategies to keep kids occupied on long car trips
Road trips and self-driving vacations tend to produce their own unique moments and memories, but that doesn't mean they don't share certain characteristics. Lately, those characteristics might be high gas prices and more traffic as many vacationers drive in an effort to circumvent the escalating cost of air travel. For parents, one component of road trips to count on like clockwork is the moment when kids ask, "Are we there yet?"
A frustration moms and dads from all walks of life and across all generations can share, bored children calling out from the backseat can try any parent's patience. Thankfully, parents can utilize these four strategies to keep kids occupied on long car trips.
1. Take out the tablet. Unlike their own parents, modern moms and dads have a reliable ally in the fight against backseat boredom. Tablets can be loaded with all sorts of entertainment, from e-books to movies to interactive activities to school lessons. Rules governing device usage may be a part of life at home, but parents can relax those rules on the road to ensure kids stay occupied until the family arrives at its destination.
2. Encourage kids to scrapbook the trip. If a road trip involves visiting multiple destinations, parents can encourage kids to spend some time scrapbooking their experiences in the backseat. Kids can write about the previous day's activities and paste ticket stubs and other mementos from the trip into their book.
3. Transform the backseat into a play area. Parents may prefer their vehicles remain toy-free most of the time, but transforming the backseat into a play area can ensure kids have plenty of things to do and less time to dwell on how long it's taking to get from point A to point B. Avoid packing anything that can be turned into a projectile, especially for children who aren't yet school-aged. But be sure to include some books, puzzles, dolls/action figures, and handheld games.
4. Time the trip well. Of course, kids don't necessarily need to be actively engaged in an activity in order to be occupied during a road trip. If possible, depart in the wee small hours of the morning, which can pay a host of dividends. Leaving before sunrise reduces the chances of being stuck in traffic, thus cutting back on the amount of time the family spends in the car. Leaving early also increases the chances that kids will spend a good portion of the trip sleeping in the backseat.
Road trips with young kids in tow can try any parent's patience. But some useful strategies to keep kids occupied on long car trips can make such excursions much more enjoyable for everyone.