Youth Alternatives: Holiday traveling with the kids

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CHEYENNE, Wyo - The holidays are right around the corner, so this is a good time to make some plans to make traveling with kids easier for everyone.

Courtesy: lorenz.markus97 / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Cheyenne Youth Alternatives sent us some advice on making it easier.

-Don’t just rely on technology.
If you are traveling for Thanksgiving, use the car time to have some thankful conversations. Play age appropriate games with a holiday twist. For example, I SPY… can become I Am Grateful For… or The Alphabet Food Game can become the Holiday Feast Game or the Christmas List Game. “I was good this year so I asked Santa for an alligator, a baseball, a cat… Pass the time by telling “remember when” stories and share your history with your children.

-Pack “Car-go” Packs
Clean out the school back packs and put in paper and pens to encourage games of tic tac toe, connect the dots, and holiday hangman. Add in a journal and help the kids keep track of events. Have some car friendly snacks that are more than just sugar. Print out mini maps and play travel bingo. Find a Trivial Pursuit book and play the did you know or what if games. Include some cards and card games such as Uno and Old Maid. (They will be useful at relatives’ houses that are not kid friendly).

-Manage Space Bubbles
If your kiddos have trouble keeping their hands to themselves, make some cardboard box partitions to go between car seats. Have the kids decorate them and help you install them. Make sure that no means no and stop means stop. Head off trouble before it starts. When you see a fight developing, turn it into a game. Have small prizes for the “Quiet Game” or the “I can sit still” game.

-Include the kids in the plan.
As with everything, when kids are involved in what you are doing they are more invested and you will get more cooperation. Go over the route with them and have them be lookouts for landmarks. Have planned rest stops and plan for emergency unplanned rest stops. Have everyone pick a few favorite songs for a sing along.

Keeping the kids happier in the back seat can be so much more rewarding for everyone if you don’t just turn on a DVD player or hand them the phone. You are traveling together, so be together.