Kids are adorable and are fun to be around, except for the times when they have to stay with you inside a car for several hours. Because they have a short attention span, they easily get bored when forced to stay in one place for prolonged periods and tend to get fussy.
This can take a toll on the parents, especially on long road trips. In a recent survey of 2,000 parents with kids aged 10 and below, the respondents shared that they start to get overwhelmed about 5 hours into the trip especially after having to clean up messes and dealing with bathroom accidents over and over again.
But despite all these challenges, going on road trips would still be beneficial for the family as a whole because of the bonding experience along the way. You just need a lot more preparation, creativity, and patience. If you are thinking of traveling with the whole family sometime in the future, consider trying out these travel hacks that can help you better manage the kids during the trip:
Ensure Their Comfort
Long road trips can be unbearable even for adults as your muscles will start to cramp from not being able to fully stretch out, then your back, neck, and shoulders start feeling heavy from maintaining the same posture for a long time. Thus, it is not surprising if the kids will feel stressed and tired after being cooped up inside a vehicle for prolonged periods.
Plan your stopovers in advance, then let everyone get out of the car to stretch their muscles and move around freely. If you are traveling with a toddler, prepare head supports for car seats so that he can take a nap comfortably in his car seat without bobbing his head in all directions as the car moves forward. For older children, you can prop up their seats with small pillows to support their back, then check if their seatbelts are not cutting into their neck or arm.
Minor cuts, bruises, and ailments are also sometimes unavoidable when traveling, so consider bringing a first aid kit with you during the trip. Your kit should be filled with basic medical necessities such as bandages, thermometer, ointments, and topical antibiotics. Also bring medicines for common ailments like fever, stomach ache, diarrhea, colds, motion sickness, itching, allergy, and even dehydration.
Build An Itinerary Around Common Interests
Rather than choosing a destination and creating an itinerary afterwards, it is a good idea create a plan based on interests if you are traveling with kids. List down each family member’s interest first, then look for a destination that can either provide all these in one location or is close enough to other facilities that have the activities that you are looking for.
Of course, don’t forget to check if the destination is age appropriate for the children so they can participate in the activities and have fun themselves. For example, theme parks may be perfect for school aged kids, but may already be boring for teenagers. Do your research as well and confirm if there are any restrictions that may prevent some members of the group from participating in the activities.
Keep Them Engaged And Entertained
After the initial excitement wears off and the boredom starts to settle in, you should be ready to cheer them up with something that will catch their interest and attention. Taking into consideration their age and individual preferences, plan for activities and games that will keep them engaged for the duration of the trip. You should also prepare enough snacks and water for consumption while on the road to ensure that they are well-fed and hydrated at all times.
Babies and toddlers still sleep a lot and for longer periods, so they are relatively easier to manage as long as they are kept comfortable, dry, and well-fed. However, they may look for something to do during their waking periods, so it is still a good idea to prepare a few toys or picture books that they can explore to pass the time.
Older children are usually more finicky and a quite harder to satisfy. Get them personally invested in the trip by involving them in the planning, asking them for suggestions, and letting them choose what toys they would like to bring with them. This would ensure that they would like the stuff that you brought with you during the trip, plus it takes away the burden of having to guess what they would like and possibly ending up disappointing them.