12 Tips For a Great Road Trip with Kids

Friday Jun 24th, 2022


I came across this list on the Global news website from an Edmonton mom of 5, Kelly Aulenbach and I have to say, she is the calm, organized mom I always wanted to be….. Since my kids are all adults, it’s likely too late for me, but you may still have a chance to mimic this superstar mom who came up with these travel strategies to keep her family sane on the road. Happy travels!
1. Have a family meeting: Before you hit the road, have a brief family meeting to explain the trip, and most importantly, to set boundaries. Frankly, the kids are stuck together so setting up rules at the onset helps with sibling rivalry. At this meeting, Kelly and her family discuss who will sit where and who will choose the music.
2. Limit what each child brings: Rather than bring backpacks filled to the brim with toys, Aulenbach gives each of her kids a zippered binder. This is where she also puts crayons, colouring books, headphones, and spending money. Her rule is “if it doesn’t fit in your binder, you can’t bring it.”  

This is also where any drawing or craft supplies go.
3. Prep before each stop: Ten minutes before you make a pit stop, tell everyone to find their shoes and zip up their binders. Decide who gets out first, flips seats, and empties the garbage.

4. Create a visual map on the ceiling: This map is perfect for curbing those “are we there yet” questions. This family cuts paper into small squares and draws their home city, the cities they will stop at or pass, and a small vehicle. Then tapes these on the roof of the car in order. The kids can then  ‘move’ the car as they pass these milestones. 

This map that you tape onto the roof of your car is perfect for curbing those “are we there yet” questions.

5. Travel games: You can find a lot of travel games online, but BINGO is a great one. Create a bingo card with things you’re likely to see on the road and some that are less common to keep their interest. The kids have to cross these off as they happen to win "Bingo".
 The kids have to cross these off as they happen to win "Bingo.".
6. Create a point system for kids to earn treats for good behaviour: Discipline can be hard to enforce when stuck in a car, so points help to manage the kids behaviour. The points can be “cashed in” at any time for treats. 
 The Aulenbach family’s road trip point system.
7. Give kids turns being a “team leader”: Each day of the trip, the Aulenbach family appoints a new team leader. This person gets privileges for the day including getting to choose the music or picking snacks first.

8. Audiobooks: Remember to think about everyone’s age group, a 12-year-old isn’t going to be interested in two hours of toddler stories. Similarly, a 5-year-old might be a little lost while listening to Harry Potter. 

9. Have a parent “supply bag”: Fill with tape, scissors, Gravol, Tylenol (for all ages), and bags for car sickness and garbage, as well as wet wipes. You can also add other fun things like stickers and bubbles. 

A parent’s road trip “supply bag.”
10. Have each child create their own photo album: Buy a cheap photo album for each child from the dollar store. Then print a bunch of 4×6 photos of happy memories or loved ones who have passed or live far away. Aulenbach explained every so often, she will hand out a print and have them put it in their album. You can tell a story about that image, which is a great way to build a family narrative, touch on values and build self-esteem.

11. Geocaching: Whether you’re at a gas station, provincial park, or rest stop, the Geocaching app turns the ground at your feet into a treasure hunt. The trick is to set a timer so this can be a short activity!

12. Bring toys for youngsters: If traveling with kids bring all those annoyingly noisy toys for the road trip. It’s much better than listening to them scream. 

The full article can be found at Globalnews.ca 

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