Before the trip
- Participation of children in general preparation
This is not just a trip to the adults but also for children. Give them the opportunity to participate in the process consciously this will limit moments of nagging on the way. Smaller children can prepare their own backpack with 2-3 favorite dolls, toys and personal belongings. Good idea is to have a backpack, especially for excursions and trips so that they feel they are preparing something special. Older children can prepare their own clothes. You may need to check to make sure they've got everything they need. Before traveling you can find information on the place you visit.
Valuable help in traveling by car. Music can turn the journey into the most entertaining experience. The right time to prepare the music to play on the trip is before the trip! Older children have to prepare the music they like for themselves, which they either put on their mp3 player to listen to them with headphones.
Games to take with you on the trip
Apart from the personal backpack for the car that the children will prepare for themselves, it is necessary for parents to predict what else they can get for the entertainment of children in the car or at stops. It all depends on how long the trip is and what is the age of the children.
- Monopoly board game
- Magnetic boards
- Block and set of paintings
- Road map
- Other games that are easy to transport and love your children
- Books, periodicals, comics (especially for stops)
- Camera to click on what makes them click!
- Tablet: You set the rules. You can allow them to watch a video or a kid's movie. There are also map apps that allow children to follow the route.
- Snack / Water / Juices
Children are always hungry. That's why we need to prepare their favorite snacks before. A good idea is to go to a supermarket to choose their own healthy snacks.
It is, of course, always necessary for each child to have his own water bottle. You can have individual juices with you, while for the longest trips during the summer months it is also useful to have a small portable refrigerator.
Baby car seat
We do not naturally expect to go for a trip in order to provide the right car seat, we have this for our daily travels anyway.
A trip, however, is the best opportunity to make sure that the seat is still suitable for the child's age as children grow up quickly and may m\need a more suitable car seat.
There are travel accessories to make the trip easier such as:
- Sunshades placed on the window and are really useful in the summer
- Ambulatory mirrors that fit into the child's seat so you can see their face from your own mirror (especially useful in the upside-down seats)
- A back seat organizer with pockets on the back of the front seats where toys, snacks can be placed so that the child can get it alone
- Soft epaulets for the belt
- Travel pads when there is no support from the seat
Of course, let's not forget one of the most basic "accessories" of traveling by car with children. Hand cleaning wipes, handkerchiefs, and baby wipes. Be sure to have lots of them and make sure you have direct access at any time!
During the journey
Parents and ingenuity go together. Earn time improvising and leave miles in the most creative way. Some ideas:
- Counting: Parents count the red cars they will meet on the street and the children blue. Who is going to win? The same can be done with anything that can be measured! Tunnels, signs, houses, animals, villages, etc.
- The alphabet: Everyone plays, alternately. You are looking for words that start with a letter. The one who will not be able to find the next word from the same letter loses. And for even more difficulty, define categories of words: e.g. animals, names, objects.
- The game of memories: Report a specific moment of the family, e.g. a trip, a summer vacation, etc. Whoever remembers most memories (what time did you go, where you stayed, who you were with) won.
- Whistling: If you are good at whistling, this could become the favorite family road game! Whistle melodies and let them understand the song.
This list never ends as each family has its own small rituals and favorite habits that can easily be turned into a game. Improvise and make each game as if it were made just for your children. Children love originality and participate effortlessly, while you all enjoy real moments of communication.
A road trip can be a great opportunity for meaningful communication, as children's attention is not distracted by other stimuli (television, games), the mood is relaxed, while limited space creates a warm and perhaps confessional mood. It is easy to make the most honest conversations in the car, get the most unexpected questions, and find out about school news that children have not felt the need to talk.
If possible, determine where the stops will be for the children to have a plan of the trip before. You may have noted on the map the possible points of stops so that children can watch. If you've even combined the stops with something different that could happen during their journey, the journey is automatically transformed into an adventure. Let's say at the first stop, you have to cut flowers, in the second, feed the birds, in the third to photograph a pet, etc. And somehow, each stop becomes fun.
Some more ideas
Early morning road trip: Many parents start their journey early in the morning as children continue their sleeping in the car and thus parents enjoy hours of peace. Of course, this does not suit the habits of all families. Nevertheless, in children's eyes, it seems "exotic" to start at home in the night or see the dawn from the car. If you even get their blanket or bed sheet together, they feel the car turns to their bed and they feel safe and peaceful.
Enjoy it as long as it lasts. Because soon it will be a sweet memory.