If you’re going on vacation soon, and you’ve decided to drive to your destination, then that can be an opportunity for the family to spend some quality time together. Of course, if you have younger children, then you’ll need to come up with some ways to keep them occupied as you pass those hours on the road.
Here are five tips to think about as you make this journey together.
Be Aware of Distracted Driving Dangers
It’s critical for you to keep the kids entertained. If your young ones are particularly rambunctious, and you allow yourself to get distracted, then the results can be disastrous.
You need to be aware of traffic around you at all times, but particularly big trucks. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration says that well over 300,000 truck crashes each year result in injury. Trucks rule the road through their sheer size, so if there’s one near to you, take special care to pay attention to it.
You Can Keep the Kids Entertained with Their Phones
These days, relatively young children are being trusted with cell phones, and that can work to your advantage if you’re traveling. Some options for keeping kids occupied with their phones:
- They can watch videos on YouTube
- They can watch shows on a streaming service like Hulu, Disney+, or HBO NOW
- They can play games via the many apps
It’s best if you monitor what your kids are watching and playing with on their phones to make sure that it is age-appropriate. Maybe you could pick out some shows or games before the trip starts. If your little ones are into trains, for instance, then Thomas the Tank Engine cartoons might be the way to go.
There are Apps that Can Keep Kids Busy on Road Trips
Several apps have been designed that are specifically intended to include the whole family. Some of the better ones are:
- Wheels on the Bus: An app for younger kids that features singalong songs, coloring activities, and memory games
- Road Trip Travel Games: This is an app for kids of all ages, with options like 21 Questions and I Spy
- Trivia Crack: This trivia game can be adjusted to different difficulty levels, and has categories like art, geography, science, history, and pop culture
You Can Play Interactive Games with Them
Maybe you want to discourage the kids from using their devices. If so, then there are plenty of games and activities that you can do where no phones or tablets are required.
For instance, you can have a family singalong. Maybe you can pull out some old classics from your days at camp, or you can sing some modern favorites if your kids have a musical artist that they like.
You can also do Adlibs or games like I Spy that require imagination and creativity, but no devices. Your kids might not be old enough yet to have phones of their own, or you may want to take a healthy break from the devices to which so many of us are tethered these days.
You Can Tell Them Stories from Your Life
It could be that you want to take this opportunity to grow closer to your children. It’s rare in the modern era to spend time with your kids where you’re not watching TV or making use of some similar distraction. Electronic devices have their place, but a long road trip might be the time to focus more on personal interaction.
If you’ve never done so before, you can tell your kids some stories about what you experienced when you were their age. You can talk about what life was like back then, and some of the ways that it has changed in the interim. If you have a partner or spouse that’s along for the ride, then they might do the same.
There’s an idea that parents sometimes have that telling their kids about their lives is old-fashioned or corny. That’s not the case, though. Regaling them with stories and anecdotes is a way of humanizing you, and helping them to get to know you on a personal level.
The family road trip is something that your kids may end up remembering fondly when they’re older. It’s a chance to grow closer together as you see the sites and visit relatives or friends. Just be sure to drive safely, and plan lots of distractions if your kids are still on the younger side.