“Are we there yet?”
“How much farther?”
“I need to go to the bathroom.”
If you are or have been a parent with small children, those are examples of the kind of things you hear when you take the family on vacation. Some are easy to answer, others more difficult. Some, such as a reference to a potty stop or a feed-me situation, can lead to delays, but require action … quickly.
If you’re driving, the degree of difficulty probably will increase significantly. Plus, you can multiply by the number of little ones on board.
So, is there a perfect system for handling “requests” from the underage travelers? No. Each family is different. Is there a way to make traveling by vehicle more enjoyable and less stressful? Yes.
Here are some options:
Journaling: If the children are of the age they can write, show them how to keep a trip log or diary, day by day. You can make one, or pick one up at any store that sells writing utensils. It depends on what you want to spend.
You might slip a postcard or some other visual element into the pages. These travel journals for years to come are great for reliving a trip with your family or sharing memories with theirs. They’re also a good way to improve on writing skills.
If you take photographs along the way, maybe you could add one here and there in the journal.
Writing to Grandma or a friend: A little “wish you were here” note, or a description of the trip (maybe even pulled from the journal entries) and mailed or transmitted to family and/or friends can be fun.
Remind the kids that they’re telling about their experience, so make it interesting.
Reading: Good reading material can be beneficial most anywhere, but should be something that is easy to read and comprehend. I wouldn’t suggest a thick book on a difficult topic.
Young minds can become bored quickly and the young ones will need another activity. Take a break every so often and play a game, or do an
observation exercise (counting types of vehicles, houses, buildings, airplanes, or something similar).
A little variation in activities is good.
Games: Simple and quiet are best. You want to avoid driver distractions. This is where some of the items listed above can help. This is where some electronic games are wonderful.
Draw the trip: If the travelers are too young to write but like to draw, have them draw something they have seen that day, or that they think they will be seeing soon. Have them draw you as you travel.
These can become keepsakes, and they probably will go well in the journal.
Watch a show or movie: If your vehicle has a DVD player, this can be a great benefit. If possible, however, use headphones. It’s that driver distraction thing, you know.
Listen to the music: Radios, CD players … any similar devices that can be used … are excellent. Remember those headphones.
There’s a starter list. Feel free to add any and all you can to make it a fun time. Length of journey, time of travel and number (and ages) of travelers will have a lot to do with what preparations you need to make.
Check out http://knowit.newsok.com/recreation-oklahoma for resource material and other suggestions. Then go have fun!