For many parents, hitting the road with the kids for a road trip means listening to a chorus of “are we there yets?” And keeping the children occupied for hours on the highway is always a challenge.
According to the results of a new survey conducted for VTech (www.vtechkids.com), a world leader in electronic learning products for children, by BabyCenter.com, 97 percent of parents dread spending more than one hour in the car with their children.
“The majority of the problems parents face while traveling with their kids stem from boredom,” said Dr. Helen Boehm, a psychologist and a VTech consultant. “Kids have been in school all year where their minds are constantly active and soaking up knowledge.”
Boredom doesn’t have to be the end result, however. There are many ways to keep kids busy on the highway. By putting together a few simple tips and a few ideas for pre-planning to work, parents can eliminate the whines of “are we there yet?” from the backseat. As an avid road tripper with two young daughters, I have put together a few suggestions:
1. Plan ahead. It’s important to plan your trip with plenty of stops along the way. Check the map and look for parks and rest stops where kids can get out and run around, throw a ball or just play tag on the grass. Even just a quick 15 minutes can alleviate some of the boredom.
2. Make the most of mealtime. Find out where you are going to eat before you leave and try to find healthy food and snacks along the way – maybe even pack a picnic. Minimizing the amount of sugar that kids eat will also go along way with avoiding tired tantrums in the car.
3. Bring plenty of toys. Companies such as VTech offer great interactive toys for children of all ages such as its, InnoTab 35, which offers interactive games and apps. Tablets such as these are compact and can offer a range of learning activities without having to lug around a lot of stuff. I also always hit the dollar store and pack a “surprise bag” of silly toys that can keep kids busy for a little while, and no one cares if they get lost along the way.
4. Family games. Play games that the whole family can get into such as “I spy” or the alphabet game. When all the occupants in the car can get engaged, the road trip is more fun for everyone.
5. Movie Time. Fire up the iPad or Kindle or the laptop and let the kids kick back with a movie in the backseat for a little while. This is something that we do when it’s nighttime, the road is dark and there’s a long drive ahead.
The survey was conducted among 1,946 moms recruited from the BabyCenter 21(st) Century Mom® Panel managed by Socratic Technologies, Inc.