Frontline Mom

Planning a Road Trip with the Kids

June 3, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

I just successfully completed a road trip Chicago to Baltimore to NYC and back to Chicago. Despite the long hours in the car, a good time was had by all. Indeed, a family vacation should be about relaxing and having fun, even if it is a road trip with the kids. After all, everyone has worked hard and deserves a little R&R. And although life is not perfect, it is possible to plan and enjoy a peaceful road trip with your family.

However, if the idea of enjoying a family road trip sounds foreign to you, consider the following tips on how to plan a pleasant, kid-friendly road trip and maintain your sanity. 

Select an exciting destination. Although it has been said “it’s all about the journey, not the destination,” you have a better chance of rallying your children for a road trip if the destination is worth their time. Consider driving to a theme park, national forest or lake.

Make the most of the journey. Back to the famous adage, the journey should be fun, too. To prevent bored and cranky kids, stop every one to two hours. In addition to stopping for lunch and dinner, take 10 to 30 minute breaks to snack, stretch, enjoy a view or visit a specialty store.

Designate roles. If your son or daughter loves to take photographs or video, assign them the tasks of a trip historian. Other kids can help with distributing snacks, cleaning out the car during gas stops, and (depending on their ages) taking turns navigating the route. A child entrusted with responsibility is more likely to stay engaged and enjoy the journey.

Keep it simple. Driving to a new location and for days at a time is stressful. A road trip is not the time to take risks or travel down the road less traveled. Create a plan and stick to it.

Allow time for daydreaming. Resist the urge to plan out every moment of the journey. Without music or conversation, your children will have the opportunity to peer out the car window and let their imaginations run wild.