Traveling with kids (ages 3-13)
Sandra Phillips’ feature
KSL TV, Studio 5 — June 22, 2007
Successful travel tips:
1- Keep the kids comfortable
* Take off their shoes on long trips (put in clothes pin or laundry bag and hang on garment hook on driver’s side—so driver’s blind spot isn’t obstructed).
* Make sure plenty of air circulates to the backseat where kids are most often seated. Minimize restrictive clothing. We often keep them too bundled up and too hot which sets the stage for car sickness.
* If you have two children in car seats, considering rotating them from side to side at each stop.
2- Prepare Kid Kits!
Their minds need to wander, even though their bodies can’t!
Using a covered cake pan, Little Joey caddy, or their new school back pack (don’t wait until fall to start using it!)—keep things visible, yet corralled and easily transportable.
* Magnetic numbers and letters adhere to the metal pan
* Marshmallow Tinker Toys – All you need is a bag of stale (dried out) miniature marshmallows and a few flat toothpicks (ends not pointed), for your own makeshift tinker toy clone activity.
* Aluminum foil architecture – tear off a piece and let kids make a creation (show examples)
* Draw with washable magic markers on windows of the car. Allow writing on the walls… or in this case, windows. “Never have more kids than you have car windows!” Erma Bombeck
* Laminate their favorite games into folders. Have fun with stickers!
“When are we going to be there?” is enough to drive any parent through the sun roof, so be prepared with printable car games! You can run off a dozen of them free at www.momsminivan.com.
3- The No-No’s.
* No balls—even soft ones. (a surprise bonk on the back of the driver’s head is not the best way to keep them alert!)
* Bring nothing that requires small parts to make it complete or make it work (if a strategic puzzle piece or Lego piece gets dropped or falls between the seat, the howling begins—and it’s too hard and unsafe to retrieve it while traveling).
4- Allow Release Time.
Let’s use our outside voices once in awhile!
* Five minutes each hour, pull out the kazoos or put on an upbeat CD (Fisher-Price Little People Songs & Games for the Road), do clapping, whistling or blow harmonicas. This physical break while strapped in a car seat or seat belt can be as effective as a walk around the block.
* Surprises: Small, inexpensive wrapped surprises to open along the way at designated points increase anticipation as the adventure continues and the miles pass. Gifts should always be used for incentives, not bribes. Buy them at the dollar store.
5- Pack up all the goods the night before.
*Put it all in a giant ziplock bag or a collapsible laundry basket
6- Make your trip memorable and fun
*Don’t be frenetic about getting where you’re going.
*Make your trip memorable and meaningful, not a marathon of activity or a race. And leave some time for spontaneous activity!
*A vacation is never perfect. Keep a sense of humor and stay flexible.
Make the trip an interactive time, not isolationist. Talk and joke with the kids.