I can not tell you how many times I have had to listen to my kids crying and fighting in the backseat during road trips. It was frustrating going even short distances with the kids when I knew that I would be listening to screaming kids for the entire drive. Fed up with the fighting and crying I started thinking of things that I could implement that would keep them comfortable and occupied during our outings; some worked and some simply did not. The ideas that I am presenting here have worked very well for me and I think that they will benefit many families that have this problem with their children.
1) Bring a portable DVD player with some of their favorite movies or a movie that they have never seen but would hold their interest. I base the number of movies that I bring with me on the length of time that we will be confined in the car.
2) When you stop to eat or for a restroom break, take the kids out for a little while. You can go for a short walk with them, or just allow them to get out and run around for a few minutes–anything to allow them to expel some energy.
3) Bring them a portable video game system (game boy, leapster, etc.) and some games to play with while traveling. Sometimes the games alone are enough to keep my kids happy for hours.
4) Bring snacks that will not leave the kids in a mess. Kids get cranky when they get hungry, so keeping the snacks on hand will help to keep the kids happier.
5) Give each child a small dry erase board or something similar for them to draw on. I have found that Crayola’s Color Wonder’s products are perfect for taking on road trips, the kids can not write on anything except the Color Wonder paper–very useful with young ones who like to draw on everything that they should not.
6) Play fun road trip games such as I spy, license plate alphabet, etc. My kids love to play license plate alphabet on our trips; to play you just check the license plates of other cars on the road and find the letters of the alphabet, in order of course.
7) Bring along books for them to read, or maybe coloring books and crayons to color.
8) Make a CD with their favorite songs to play during the trip and encourage the kids to sing along, and it helps if you are willing to join in as well.
9) Try to avoid having the kids cramped together, this could save a lot of arguments, especially the dreaded “he/she’s touching me!”.
10) Bring pillows; these will help to keep the children more comfortable during naps and such, but they can also be used as a barrier between children who are fighting.