Can you feel the change in the air? Yes, the seasons are changing and summer weather is well on its way. But there is also a seismic shift happening in our communities as the COVID pandemic is being mitigated by new vaccine efforts. More families are spending time out in the community eating, playing, and enjoying the company of family and friends. And with this cultural turn in the direction of normalcy comes a return to travel. If your family is like more than a quarter of other American families, you skipped your summer vacation last year and may not have traveled anywhere in over a year. Many are still squeamish about air travel making the summer of 2021 the year of the road trip.
If you were born into a road-tripping family, you probably have fond memories of all the experiences you had driving around the country in the family car. But, you may not remember the hours of boredom that preceded the repetition of the question, “are we there yet?” Road trips can be long and tiresome for kids of any age, so before you start packing review this list of parenting tips to make sure you’re prepared with some essential road trip activities.
1. Plan Ahead With Plenty of Games
There are plenty of games you can play while out on the open road with your family. Simple, guessing games like 20 Questions are a great activity everyone can participate in. You can find a variety of free, printable road trip games scattered around the internet. Or, you may choose to purchase some road trip games. The best parenting tips we can give around car games is to come prepared with plenty of options. The more options you have, the longer you can keep your kids entertained between your front door and your destination.
2. Give a Little on Screentime Regulations
Are you the Screen Time Police at home? We understand. We’re all concerned about the effects of too much screen time on our children’s young minds. However, sometimes you just have to learn to give a little bit. Long road trips can feel like mental torture for small children who just want to get out of the car and run around. Help pass the time by allowing them some screen time to watch a movie on your phone, laptop, or tablet. We’re usually on the side of parenting tips that create some boundaries around technology for children. But when it comes to long car rides, all bets are off.
3. Pack Plenty of Food
Want to avoid feeding your kids a week’s worth of fast food and spending hours of your trip sitting in a drive-through? You don’t need parenting tips to tell you how that much junk food affects all of your bodies. Pack a cooler. Your kids’ favorite sandwiches, a variety of fruits, veggies, and other snacks can make for fun traveling lunches or an easy picnic on the side of the road. Keep some individually wrapped special snacks hidden away for those moments when your kids need a special treat.
4.Schedule a Few Fun Stopovers
Take a little bit of time before setting off on your epic summer journey to research your route and fund some fun stopover activities. This may be as simple as stopping at each state line for a picture or finding a fun roadside attraction. Take 30 min out of your trip for your family to get out and stretch their legs and you may earn several hours of peace during the next leg of your trip. Trust us, this is the king of road trip parenting tips.
5 . Create A Family Playlist
Sometimes you just need a little music to get you hyped up for your trip. In the weeks before you set off, compile a playlist with some of the favorite songs from all the members of your family. Getting your kids involved in this process will heighten their excitement when their favorite song comes up on the list. Make sure you save your family playlist for the special moments when you could all use a little pick me up. And if music isn’t your thing, consider downloading some family-friendly audiobooks. If any of our parenting tips can bring your family together on your summer road trip, it’s this one!
Road trips are a strange mixture of family fun, high stress, and exhaustion. Just like everything else in parenting, a little bit of preparation will go a long way on your next trip. If you want to make your summer road trip as enjoyable as it can be, try implementing some of these parenting tips and see how it helps. Check out our website for more parenting tips, And if you have questions about joining the St, Barnabas School family, contact us today.