If you’re a parent and you’re about to go on that couple-hour road trip to relatives this holiday season and you feel clueless about how you’re going to keep the impatient kids quiet and occupied, this is the article for you.
After my three years of experience in babysitting and having a natural born talent to get kids to follow my lead, I’m pretty sure I could give you a few details on keeping the them happy for a couple of hours. Here are five tips to keep your road trips a peaceful experience.
Number One: If you have kids under the age of two, give them a rattling or flashy toy, such as a classic rattle or a flashy set of keys. It will give their eyes something to look at and should keep them busy observing all of the gizmos and tinker tots on the key ring. When their curiosity fades try playing music or a video. If you have a TV in your car, put on a peaceful movie; to help put them to sleep. This will definitely work for 1-2 hours. To extend the effect of the movie, try to give them a bottle of milk at the same time. If there is one thing I know about younger children, it is that once a child is full and has been a while in the car, they get sleepy. I know that your child will fall asleep eventually in the car if they’re really young, or a sleeper.
Number Two: If you have kids from three to five years of age, they like to feel like a kid, so give them fun stuff to do. This means that if you have the time and space for a good coloring book and sharp Crayons, take advantage of it. Another idea is to use one of the new learning accessories; such as kid’s vocabulary laptops, Leapsters etc. At this ages action figures and dolls also help if they are encouraged to pretend the doll or action figure is going to the same location you are. TV’s and movies also work with this age group to keep their eyes and ears occupied, so you will be spared the wining and bathroom breaks.
That brings up Number Three: If you have a child that constantly asks to stop for a “potty break” just so they can walk around and see something other than the highway or the passing trees then here are a few tips. If you have already stopped for fuel a few miles back, ask them if they sincerely need to go. If they just act all calm and like they just want something to say, they more than likely don’t have to go and can wait until the next stop at a gas station or restaurant. But if they are busting out of their seats and are about to have an accident, make a run for it. Stop as soon as you can!
Number Four: Children six to nine years old like to be the cool kid. They want to listen to music or play with a digital game until they arrive at their destination. If you have the book-obsessed kids bring several books along for them. Not only does this give you quiet time, but it should encourage you that readers become leaders.
Number Five: If you have kids ten years and older they prefer more mature options. Make sure they bring their mP3 players, CD players video games (Nintendo DS or PS3) to keep them occupied. Even a digital video game that has loud sound effects, at least they are absorbed in the game rather than constantly asking whether you and your family are there yet.