What keeps them happy?
We drive a Dodge Caravan, so our ride feels open and relaxed, not tight and squished. And we pay lots of attention to our children’s needs during our time in the van. If you have the pleasure of a road trip with kids, then I pray your adventures are blessed.
Here, I’ve listed some things that we’ve learned can contribute to happy traveling children.
Watch the Intake
I’m not a fan of large doses of sugar for children anyway. But, on a road trip, it’s even worse. Sugar-snacks are loaded with crankiness and grumpies, which seem to be enhanced when confined to a small space (your road trip car). It’s worth the effort to find healthy snacks that they’ll get excited about.
And keep the children hydrated. Please don’t be afraid that you’ll have to stop and pee more often. I’ve witnessed that a hydrated child is a happier child.
While I’m planning a road trip with my road trip planner , I research towns along our way, especially for really nice playgrounds. It’s wonderful to watch my kids make friends with other children in different parts of the country.
But, even if it isn’t a playground, our children need a place to let out their intense energy, and we’d all prefer that to be some place other than the inside of our road trip car. In the USA, our Interstate system has really nice rest areas. They are great places to get out and release some energy (for grown-ups too).
My sweetheart visits the library right before a road trip. This gets us a fresh supply of new books to keep our boy occupied. We’ve also given him a CD player and some headphones to listen to books on CD. He loves following along.
But we don’t need to distract him the whole trip. He’s still interested in the changing landscape outside the windows of our van. It’s fun to interact with him about the things we see. “WOW! Look at that!” is often heard in our van.
Road Trip Games for Kids
I would miss my children’s presence if they were distracted by electronics the whole trip. A road trip with kids can be very entertaining. Engage with them regularly. There are plenty of road trip games for kids. Some of the games that I really enjoy playing are ‘I Spy’ and ‘Story Pass-Along’.
A road trip with kids is a great chance to learn. Let the children follow the trip’s progress in a kids road trip atlas or on a map. This is great for teaching them to form big pictures in their minds, for knowing about where places are in relation to one another, understanding scale, etc. And if you hear, “Are we there yet?” then you can reply, “You tell me.” For the younger ones, it would help to highlight the route for them.
Infants and Babies
My wife is an outstanding mother. Traveling with a baby doesn’t faze her. She is adept at dealing with all sorts of challenging situations while on the road. She always has some warm water in a thermos for making formula. The diaper bag is always handy and always well stocked. And soothing the baby when she’s fussy seems to come naturally to her.
One thing I’ve had to learn and accept is to not be in a hurry to get anywhere. Stopping to change a poopy diaper or burp the baby after a bottle becomes routine. I’ve come to appreciate the frequent opportunities to see a little closer, the places we’re traveling through.
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