Aside from having plenty of snacks and electronic devices for your next road trip with your kiddos, here are a few tips that helped make our recent family road trip to the bay area, which entailed 20 hours in the car, tolerable and even pretty fun.
1) Incentivize Non-Annoying Behavior: The annoying phrases “are we there yet” and “how much longer?” are a given on any road trip, so I came up with a scheme to combat those pesky questions.
Tell each child that they are allowed to say “Are we there yet?” no more than three times. You can either keep a record on a piece of paper, as I did, or you can give them 3 tokens that they have to turn in each time they say it. If each kid in the car can make it the duration of the trip without going over the allotted amount, then they get a prize once you reach your destination. This takes some planning ahead of time, as you’ll have to figure out what gift to give. You can make it an individual prize or a collective venture, but either way, it works!
2) Friendly Competition: Pick out an item or two that are typically seen in the part of the world in which you are traveling, for us it was Slug Bugs (Volkswagon Bugs) and Cooper Scoopers (Mini Coopers), and keep a tally of how often each person sees one. At the end of the trip, the person with the most points wins. You can have an actual prize, or maybe each passenger has to give the winner a backrub.
3) Sing it Out. Turn off the radio and just do an old-fashioned sing-a-long. Dig out the old songs from your youth like She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain and Brining Home My Baby Bumble Bee. You’ll be surprised how much mileage you get out of those old ditties.
4) Akinator the Genie. Do NOT leave home without this App. For real. This App is HOURS of fun. Especially when you are with a new crowd of friends, young or old. Everyone gets a kick out of trying to stump this guy! Basically, you think of a famous person, real or fictional, and Akinator will guess who you are thinking of via yes or no questions. On my last trip he guessed Tootie from the Facts of Life, in less than 20 questions! The Genie is genius I tell ya!
5) The Quiet Game. This might be the best game of all. I’m not sure at what age kids don’t fall for this one anymore but right now my kids LOVE this game and so do I, particularly after a night off one too many glasses of wine. Here’s how you play: One, two, three quiet game . . .
What are some of your tips for a successful road trip with kids?