If you have kids or have ever traveled with children in an automobile, even for a day trip, you have no doubt heard that wonderful phrase; “Are we there yet?”, or some variation. Kids will be kids and being “bored” easily, and fast, seems to be part of that. I remember traveling as a child. It seemed like the miles were forever and minutes were hours. My parents tried to ease my boredom … which probably explained a lot of gray hair.
So, hold on tight! Here we go!!
“Are we there yet?!?”
“Um … no, not yet. Now sit down, put your seat-belt back on and be quite. PLEASE!” What!?! How did you get it through there to begin with?? I don’t care if s/he is touching you! SIT DOWN NOW!
You want a guarantee?!?
Are you crazy? WAIT! Don’t answer that! You’re taking kids on a trip … in a car. Enough said.
First off: There is no guaranteed way to prevent, control or stop problems from happening. I am not a child psychologist and have no “expert” advice. But, here are some things to try and do to minimize problems.
Get them involved and educate them:
Ok, get them involved and they will educate you. Whatever works.
Let the children know how long the trip will be, where they are going and other information. Let them ask questions and you provide answers as best you can. Even saying “I don’t know” is acceptable if it isn’t over used. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the answers. Kids know everything anyway.
Um … Maybe you should ask the questions and let the kids answer.
Let the kids choose toys to take along:
Ask them what they would like to take along to keep them occupied. Explain that size and other factors need to be considered in what they can bring along. It might surprise you how well they understand and choose things … and if they pick their own toys and amusements, they are more likely to sit and play while you go crazy trying to figure out which turn to take next.
“No, your entire toy box will not fit in the back seat! I said one or two toys or games!”
On the road … again:
Or, “How do we keep the little buggers from driving us crazy while we are driving like crazy to get there!?!”
Now that you are on the road to your destination, let the fun begin!
“Don’t whine to me. You chose that. Now sit down, shut up and play with it!” “Oww!” “I think ‘I’ need a time out” “Why can’t we just pull over and drop them off?? Who would know?”
Redirect that energy. No, smacking them in the head only hurts your hand. Instead, make a game out of things. Get the kids to search and find, count or identify things along the road. Cars, tractors, animals or other items.
Umm … some things seen from an automobile can bring difficult questions. Be prepared to explain things … especially where boy and girl animals are involved. Wild swerving of the car might distract the kids from the unwanted scene, but the police tend to frown on that kind of driving. Best to redirect the kid’s attention elsewhere instead. 😉
“No, they’re not fighting, sweetheart. Oh Look! There’s an ice cream place just down the road. You want to stop for an ice cream? Say what!!! (Note to self: Hire new babysitter.)”
Ask the kids to help you:
No, letting them drive probably isn’t a good idea unless they are old enough to have a license. Even then … Uh. it’s your life … er, choice.
Try giving them a map and have them “help” you figure out where they are and where to turn. This has the benefit of being educational … but don’t tell the kids that. Oh, and make it an old map that you don’t care to keep in one piece. You keep the good map and use it to make sure you are on the right road. Or just use the GPS.
Sing along with the vocally challenged:
It really doesn’t matter if you or they can sing or not, sing a song with the kids. Or wear ear plugs while they sing. Make it something they know. I’m sure you have heard the latest “songs” from your kids. Or choose one yourself. And, no, “99 bottles of beer on the wall” is not a good choice of songs.
How about a game of cards?
I bet your kids can come up with some card games they would like to play while traveling. Crazy 8, Old Maid and others would be good. No, strip poker isn’t good. If the kids suggest it, you should ask questions … or have a good talk about birds and bees with them … or both. Also see note to self above.
Ok, I’ve had some fun with this. But seriously, traveling with kids isn’t bad. It can be really fun. Children are a blessing and the things they come up with can be amazing. I often wonder who is really smarter, but I know the answer. They are! Just remember that getting there is half the fun and if the kids feel involved and are having fun, it helps.