When it comes to family vacations, one of the most memorable experiences you can give your kids is a good old classic family road trip. Nothing says quality family time like packing up the minivan and embarking on a journey full of spectacular sights, amazing attractions, and new adventures.
However, as most families know, spending hours on end in a confined space with restless toddlers can quickly turn into a nightmare. From the 100th “are we there yet?” to sibling fights and temper tantrums, family road trips can be just as stressful as they are fun. The good news is there are plenty of tips and tricks out there to keep the kids happy and occupied.
So, if you are planning your first family road trip, here are the best ways to stay sane and keep the kids entertained.
Before hitting the road, the first thing you should do is set expectations for your trip. Make it fun, and plan a family meeting to discuss everything they need to know about your upcoming travels. Explain where you are going, how long it is going to be, and how you expect them to behave.
A creative way to keep them engaged is to incorporate fun things into the family rules. For example, tell the kids they are each allowed to bring a backpack with three of their favorite toys. But, if someone misbehaves, they get a toy taken away. This will not only keep them occupied, but it is a great way to set boundaries.
Reward Good Behavior
As you embark on your journey, a great way to ensure that the kids act like they are supposed to be is by rewarding good behavior. If they go for a stretch without complaining or fighting, reward them with a quick stop for ice cream. If they are patient in the car, let them have some extra time in the pool at the next hotel.
While it is beneficial to reward good behavior, it is also essential to uphold your punishments. If you set a rule that if they don’t listen, they lose a toy for the day, make sure to take away a toy. If you don’t uphold the punishments, they won’t take you seriously, and the bad behavior will continue.
Playing games is a fantastic way to make memories and keep your kids entertained. From the license plate game where you look for cars from different states to the eye spy game where you try to guess what someone sees, there are plenty of classic road trip games that are fun for the whole family.
On every road trip, it is essential to plan and coordinate family activities along the way. Whether you stop at a beach, national park, amusement park, or picnic area, it is essential to give the kids some time out of the car to stretch and get their energy out. Not only will these stops create amazing memories, but they will most likely tire them out so you could have a few hours of peaceful driving.
Both hunger and overconsumption of sugar can cause a major temper tantrum. It is essential to pack plenty of snacks and drinks on long road trips to satisfy everyone on board. While sugary snacks are okay for an occasional treat, it is important to pack healthy food your kids can enjoy between meals. Consider packing sandwiches, fruit, veggie platters, water, string cheese, low sugar juice, and more.
Let The Kids Have A Say
While it is important to set boundaries, it is also important to let the kids have a say from time to time. For example, let them pick between a few restaurants for dinner or give them options for the activity for the day. Giving them a choice lets them feel like they are in control and will lessen the chances of them revolting when you tell them something they have to do.
According to a 2013 study, one of the worst driving distractions on the road is kids. Making sure they are well behaved, occupied, and happy is one of the best ways to keep them calm and your eyes on the road. It is also important to note that long road trips can take a toll on your car. It is crucial to make sure everything is in working condition and that your car insurance is up to date to ensure your safety.
If your insurance policy is expired or you believe you’re paying too much under your current provider, you can always browse the market for a new insurance quote before you hit the road. A new policy might save you money in the long run, money that you can use later for family activities once you reach your destination: not to mention different types of coverage have advantages like roadside servicing, should something happen on your trip.
Make It Memorable
Following these tips will help you and your family make memories full of laughter and adventure that will last a lifetime.