You met the and have come back each Wednesday to read what they have to say on the newest parenting question. Recently, we invited Wantagh-Seaford Patch parents to join the discussion.
Spring break is next week and while the kids look forward to this all year, it can mean a week of chaos for parents if not done right. Our moms are here to help, offering their best tips for traveling with kids.
Are we there yet? While traveling with my children, most of the time by car, I did not hear the dreaded phrase, “Are we there yet?” very often. My children grew up in the revival age of Disney movies and songs and clever musical tapes of catchy nursery rhymes set to music- all on cassette for traveling in the car. The children’s author and songwriter Rick Charette was also a big hit and very entertaining listening while zipping along stretches of boring thruways. My children recall a tape I played for them on every trip of states and their capitals. They heard this particular tape so often, to this day they still know each word to the jingle and know the states and their capitals as well. I am so proud!
They eventually moved on to the next stage of entertaining themselves with Gameboy, Nintendo and now, portable movie players. One of my children developed an interest in photography. She took her camera with her on each trip. Her subjects were often the passengers in our car. She would take pictures of her siblings while they weren’t aware they were being photographed, (bribing them afterward) and pictures of scenery and landscape while the car was moving. We all would critique her work after the photos were developed. She is presently studying photography on the college level.
I enjoy Broadway musicals and very often had the music from hit shows playing in our car, now on CD. While listening to the music of Camelot I could hear one of my sons singing along to the lyrics. I thought to myself smugly, “he is enriching his vocabulary."
Snacks were a big deal while traveling. They were usually gobbled up during the first five minutes. One thing I would not suggest allowing your children to do is pack by themselves. I must have really needed a vacation myself to agree to this one. While opening the suitcases in the hotel room to unpack our luggage, Beanie Babies and stuffed animals fell out of three of our four suitcases! They just couldn’t leave home without them.
I am not much of a long distance driving traveler. I always kept the trips in the car no more than three hours; the kids would get bored. I always would make sure they had enough games, crayons and things to do in the car. If we traveled by plane I did the same; the busier you keep them the less they will bother you. Unlike us growing up they have advantages of a DVD player in the car, which by the way I always had. It made the travel easier and kept them quiet. Another good thing is to make stops along the way to let them stretch out and take a break.When we plan a vacation, I make sure that the place we are going to keeps them busy all day and tired at night.
Kathleen Vaughan Ware
Here are a few tricks I have used over the years to keep my sanity while traveling on vacation with kids in the car:
1. Bazooka Joe. That’s right, good old fashioned bubble gum is a great thing to have for family road trips. The secret is to challenge your kids to blow the perfect bubble. It should take a minimum of 10 attempts, thus allowing at least 45 minutes to pass by. If they master it sooner rather than later- go for the bubble within a bubble challenge.
2. Sign language. Challenge your kids to communicate without words and whoever goes the longest wins... a piece of gum!
3. Etch-A-Sketch. No matter what age your child is, this oldie but goodie occupies kids of all ages. Tell them to etch an animal, a sports object and a car.
4. By now a few hours should have passed, at which point your destination may be close by. The last and final game should be “odd drivers”. Have your kids look for a driver of another vehicle (truckers get two points) doing something bizarre (nose picking, singing, eating, etc.).
5. Finally, when you arrive at your destination, treat yourself to a delicious adult beverage. After all those challenges, you’ve earned it! Cheers!