Sunday, October 4, 2015

Tips for a Road Trip with Young Children

My children and I recently went on a 9-day road trip to the Grand Canyon with my mother.  This trip involved a considerable amount of driving, since our round trip was over 1,200 miles and over 20 hours of driving time.  I had decided early in the planning for our trip that this was to be a low-tech trip: no videos or video games to occupy the children in the car, and a break from the internet, email, and Facebook for me during our trip. (I did break this rule once, on the last evening of our trip when I succumbed to the temptation to briefly get rid of the accumulated spam in my email.)

My children (who are 5 and 8 years old) have never spent more than 3 hours in the car in a day, and they typically do not nap in the car. So I wondered how they both would do with all of the driving time on our trip. I had quite a few tricks up my sleeve to ensure that our drive time would be enjoyable. In short: my children did brilliantly in the car (and on the whole trip). 

How We Made Our Road Trip a Success 

Before Our Trip
  • Anticipation and Excitement: For several months before the trip, the kids and I talked often about our trip: how much fun we would have, and how amazing it would be to be able to see the Grand Canyon, saguaro cacti, the Navajo reservation, etc. To tie our trip into our homeschooling, we also read books about the Grand Canyon, Navajo culture, and saguaro cacti. Our anticipation and excitement for the trip were high.
  • Clear Expectations and Consequences: Before our trip, I talked with my children several times about the fact that there would be lots of driving time. I emphasized that, if the children chose to complain, bicker, or otherwise make the car time un-enjoyable, then we would not be able to take such trips again in the future. 

While On Our Trip

Do you have any tips to share for road trips with children?


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Kariane said...

These are great tips! Thanks for sharing.

I wrote about How we Entertained our Boys [Screen Free!] on a 15 hour Road Trip here:

Sarah Smith said...

A friend of mine also recommended the following for road trips with kids:
-magnaformers toys
-cat's cradle book with string to practice

Anonymous said...

We listen to the animal stories by Thorton Burgess in the car. They are free on for download.