Road Trips With Your Preschooler
"Mom, Trey hit me," screamed Gabby. "You grabbed my headphones first and popped me in the ear," shouted Trey. It's one thing when kids are in the house while arguing – you can separate them and put them in their own rooms. But there, inside the car as you try to squeeze all of the different personalities into one small space, tempers are bound to flair, and flair and flair. Especially with these competitive twins.
This is the time of year when families begin to plan for their vacations. Due to the uncertainty of overcrowding airplanes and the high prices of tickets, when you have four or more kids, many will be taking to the roads via automobiles and need help in trying to make it a good experience. Why do vacations seem more like work than, well, vacations?
Some pointers that other well-seasoned, kind families have shared are listed below. It's great because through trial and error, these parents have found that these doable tricks-of-the-trade really do work.
- Plan ahead and get the kids involved in planning the trip with a map or road atlas.
- Discuss what you will see and perhaps get a video of where you are going.
- Check out possible points of interest along the route and stop there for meals or a stretch.
- Kids enjoy talking into a tape recorder to "report" what is out the window or other momentary facts.
- Borrow great classics on tape from the library. Use a cassette recorder to play The Borrowers and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
- Bring along a bag of distractions. Hand them out only as a last resort.
- Buy things ahead of time by doing shopping on a weekly basis. This will help to spread out the cost and to consider taking things back if you find something you think they might like better.
- Start your trip early around 3 a.m. so the kids will still want to sleep through the morning.
- Make frequent stops to use the bathroom.
- Eat light, dried, non-salty snacks.
- Do not let the kids drink caffeine.
- Run around and stretch at the rest stops.