You’ve picked out a destination that it seems everyone in the family will enjoy. You’ve planned the trip – how long you’ll be gone, where to stay, what to see while you’re there and maybe some neat places to check out on the way to your intended destination.
Oh, the anticipation! Everyone is so excited! Thirty minutes (maybe an hour) into the trip you hear “Are we there yet?”
If you didn’t plan on ways to keep the kids occupied, as in not bored to tears (literally), this trip is going to be very, very long. As with anything in life, planning is the key to success.
Remember that a child’s world can be pretty small by adult standards. Two hours can seem like an eternity and anything outside the car is of little interest to young children. Watching the trees go by or the traffic on an interstate highway isn’t going to cut it for very long. There just aren’t enough cows, horses, and giraffes to look at.
Take a few minutes to consider your child’s personality as well as his age. Does he play well alone? Or does he require some interaction? Will he sleep during a lot of the drive? Is this really a good thing, or does it mean he will be fully charged when you’re trying to get some needed rest at night. Do you want him on a “sugar high” from snacking on junk food the whole trip, or even worse, with an upset tummy?
So what are your options? Take a look at what interests your child at home. Obviously, simulating the swing set in the backyard may be a little out of reach, but what does he do when he’s indoors? Really young children can generally play with the same toys they would play with at home. You know, all that brightly colored plastic you pick up every day and still manage to trip over when you get up at night.
When they’re a little older, it gets more challenging. Some children will play with crayons and paper as long as the paper doesn’t run out. If your child’s not a budding artist what about video games? These are great for the more energetic kids. You know, the ones who think silence is some form of torture created by adults to make their lives as miserable as possible. Then there are the children with vivid imaginations that can take a single toy and create an entire world in the space surrounding a booster seat. And last but certainly not least, what about the kids who prefer to stay glued to the TV? With today’s portable DVD players, even if you don’t have this nifty feature already built into the family vehicle, these children can watch their favorite videos and forget that they will soon be visiting Yellowstone, Disney World, or Uncle Bob and Aunt Louise’s ranchette in Arizona.
Have a great vacation and Drive Friendly!