Ahh, summer vacation. What could be better than the all-American, old-fashioned family road trip with kids? Not much…until the whining starts. Before you reach for the earplugs, try one of these fun solutions to keep your kids happy and you sane:
- Games are a great way to include the whole family while painlessly passing the road trip with kids. Top suggestions were Name that Tune, Spot the State License Plate, and Twenty Questions. But Tara C. turned the tables to put parents in the hot seat while teaching youngsters a bit about the country: “We looked in an atlas and quizzed Mommy and Daddy on capitals and states.” Or if you’re crawling through a busy town, try Red light/Green light, a game suggested by Elena A. To play, divide your car into teams. “If we make a light, we (green team) get a point and if we get stopped at the light, the red team scores. I like it because we win and lose and it is a great way to prevent their whining about getting there and the potential road rage on my part.”
- Audio books, coloring books, and…aluminum foil? Julie C. brings along a dollar-store roll of aluminum foil to keep her kids busy for hours: “Little ones can wrap their sippy cups and books. Older ones can make sculptures and chains to hang across the car.” Another Positive Parenting Solutions Facebook Fan, Maggie B., pointed out that, “Pipe cleaners and post it notes were huge when my girls were small.” What crafty souvenirs could your kids create?
- A little control goes a long way towards keeping whiny kids at bay. Empower your kids by letting them help plan part of the trip: each child could pick an attraction to visit, or where the family will eat. And letting kids have a say in such things as the music choices, snacks, or whether or not to take the “scenic” route will cut down on power struggles throughout your journey.
- Time to tune out? Jenny R. suggests leaving at bedtime for longer rides. It’ll be seat belts on and lights out as your kids dream away the hours on the road. And if all else fails, the portable DVD player can be a great distraction. But too many movies can turn kids into backseat couch potatoes, so be sure to set reasonable limits.
And the very best way to keep everyone happy on your next long road trip with kids? Don’t forget to set aside time each day for some one-on-one attention for each of your children. When kids get consistent positive attention, they are less likely to act out in negative ways, like throwing their flip-flops out the car window.
About the Author
Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic – A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.