The Holidays are here, and soon it will be time to back up the family car and hit the open road – or they very crowded road with lots of traffic. If you’re taking a lengthy road trip this year, make sure you take a look at these six tips to help keep your family happy on your Holiday car ride.
1. Talk about the trip before leaving.
Children typically deal with new or unusual situations better when they are prepared for them. A few days before you hit the road, discuss how long the trip will be, and help them understand how long that is. If you are going on a three-hour trip, for example, tell them they will be in the car as long the time it takes to watch two movies. This may help them grasp the concept of time better.
2. Pack plenty of drinks and snacks.
Don’t let your kids get “Hangry” (what happens when you’re so hungry you become angry and cranky). Give your passengers choices, and allow them to help pack the cooler with snacks they enjoy. Make sure you pack equal amounts of food portioned out so each family member can have some of each snack. This will eliminate arguing.
3. Activities, games and movies, oh my!
Brainstorm and create a list of road trip activities BEFORE you hit the road. Some tips when planning:
– Pack games that do not have a lot of pieces. Nothing will cause a melt down more than a monopoly piece falling down in between the seats and never found again.
– Have a variety of activities, and consider your child’s attention span — hint, it’s a lot shorter than you think, usually double (in minutes) the child’s age. For example, if you have a 2 year old, their attention span is 4 minutes long.
– Give in a little when it comes to “TV Time.” Pack a favorite flick and maybe even let them buy a new one to watch in the car.
4. Dress in layers and bring blankets.
Everyone in your family has a different internal temperature. Most cars these days have driver and passenger controlled heating and air conditioning, but if you haven enough warm clothes and blankets packed you can keep the car cooler without anybody being too cold. (Warm clothes are also important should your car break down while you’re traveling in a colder climate.)
5. Get organized!
Have the family help you pack the car. Explain where things are going and why. Label the snacks and drinks so you know when one kid has had their fair share of treats or sweets, and who hasn’t had anything at all. Don’t forget the trash bag!
6. Practice Makes Perfect.
As soon as your car is packed, have everyone hop in and act like you are on the road. Make sure everyone can reach the things they need. See if anyone can think of any additional items that might make the trip better. This will reduce last minute emergencies and everyone will be less stressed when it comes time to actually get in the car and venture on your long ride. Don’t forget to have everyone use the restroom one last time before heading out!