You’ve got a long trip ahead and the last thing you want is to have fussy kids. There are plenty of things you can during car rides to entertain the kids.
Surprise Bag: Get a bunch of small items like crayons, toys, stickers, books, ect. and wrap them. Put them in a bag and tell your kids that if they behave for a certain amount of time (like every hour or in between rest stops) they can pick a prize from the bag. The kids will be motivated to behave and will have fun unwrapping their new treasure.
Movie Time: If your vehicle has a built in DVD player or you have a portable one, use it. This may not be the best way to keep your kids busy but they will love it. The time will pass faster if they can watch something they enjoy.
Travel At Night: If the destination is more exciting that the car ride plan to leave around your child’s bedtime. If you have a bedtime routine do it in the car. The kids can wear their pajamas and snuggle with a pillow. Hopefully they will sleep throughout the trip giving you some peace and quiet. There tends to be less traffic at night as well.
Fun Snacks: Before you leave allow your kids to pick an assortment of small snack items (goldfish, nuts, fruit snacks, chocolate chips, pretzels, crackers, chips) and put them in a bag. Every once in a while give them a scoop or snack sized bag full of the mix. Imagine the look on your kid’s face if they eat a handful of everything.
Candy Thief: You’ve tried everything and the kids are still acting up. Take a bag of candy (individually wrapped candies work best but you could also use bigger unwrapped candy like gummy bears) and every time your kid is too loud or picks on their sibling tell them they lost a piece of candy. You can hide it or eat it yourself. At the end of the car ride the kids will either have a big or small bag of candy depending on how well they handled the trip. You don’t have to use candy. This can work with other snacks or toys as well.
Cathryn Yandric is a graduate of the University of Michigan Dearborn. She is an avid reader and blog poster.