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Monday, August 10, 2009

On the Road Again...

Today found me driving from Acworth to Athens. The distance isn't particularly far - only about 100 miles - but the length of the drive can be somewhat daunting because the traffic that one generally encounters along the required route of travel. It's pretty brutal at times.

Making the drive alone would be difficult enough. Today I brought Kira and Marisa along with me. They travel pretty well, but even the best behaved children can find lengthy drives to be overwhelming and irritating. Hey, I'm an adult and often find myself getting frustrated with long drives.

My drive today has inspired me to discuss all the different ways that parents can make long drives easier for their children.

I started my trip by explaining to both girls that we would be on the road for an extended length of time. I think communication is the best way to avoid difficulties with children. If you let them know what to expect and why things are happening, then children can become better prepared for whatever may come.

After talking to the girls, I asked them to gather a selection of toys that were appropriate for taking in the car. I gave them one bag to put all their toys in. If it didn't fit in the bag, it didn't get to take the trip with us. Trust me - Kira tried real hard to take her biggest stuffed pony with her. The "too big for the bag" rule comes in real handy when you need to maintain some sense of "reasonable" when it comes to travel toys.

When we all piled in the car, I made sure each child had a drink and a snack before we left the driveway. (Okay - honestly - I skipped this step today, but it is my usual standard procedure... it makes a huge difference when you do this.)

The kids had their toys close at hand so playing was an easy option.

I had my McDonald's Tea close at hand so drinking was an easy option.

We started on our way.

Here is where those nifty on-board DVD players come in real handy. Unfortunately for me, I don't have one of those in my car. The next car I buy ... there WILL BE a DVD player on-board. If I don't buy a new car before I embark on my epic road trip - I will be installing a DVD player in the car I have now.

Along the drive, it's important to keep a good sense of humor. Talk to your kids while you drive. Being on the road provides such a wonderful opportunity for education. My kids often make the most interesting observations as we travel. Today, Kira asked me why the big trucks are called 18-wheelers. When I told her that the big trucks have 18 wheels, she was amazed because she could only see 4 or 5 wheels. I explained to her how to look at the truck in order to see ALL of the wheels. The next time we passed a truck she took time to look very closely at how the trailer tires are "double stacked" to make the total of the wheels equal 18.

Long trips are not destined to be filled with drudgery and whining. You can make those times fun. It may take a bit of planning, and a really good sense of humor, but you CAN enjoy long trips with your children.


A.Marie said...

Trust me....even though my van never had a nifty built-in DVD player, I bought a portable one and we brought that along. It made for a much more enjoyable trip! :)


We take road trips with the kids and thankfully they have found loads of ways to entertain themselves.

Thanks for taking the time to stop by my ...Easier... site and leave a comment. Much appreciated!


Petula said...

Yes, when we have to drop Amber off or pick her up I always tell them that we're going to be riding for a long time. I pack "secret" snacks so when they start to get restless and tired then they get a snack. Luckily mine like to ride and they like to go to Amber's campus. The only one who causes the main ruckus is little Anna. Then I end up telling her, "Take a nap" and about 15 minutes later she's asleep. That's after she's rejected more snacks, juice, toys and books.

I'm with you on the DVD player purchase. I would love a vehicle with one.

April said...

Long live the portable DVD player. Take it from a mom who has moved her kids from New Jersey to Arizonia, Arizona To Arkansas, and Arkansas to New York. They are great to have on hand when the kids get tired of travel games and books :D

Liss said...

A portable DVD player and a bag of lollies (not that they need a sugar fix) but it keeps them quiet until we reach the destination.

I also stop for breaks every 1 1/2 to 2 hours if the drive is long. To help break it up and use this time for the kiddies and me to go to the toilet.

vange said...

Lard, I hated car trips as a kid!

Lynne said...

My daughter is 13 now and I have to say, my favorite thing about being in the car with her, whether it's a short or long journey, is taking the opportunity to have a conversation. Kids and parents can get so busy, I like to take advantage of that time to talk, even if it's about nothing important!

Icy BC said...

You're well prepared, and the children will have load of fun. My children love long road trip too.