Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Works for Me Wednesday - Travelling with kids

Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer hosts Works for Me Wednesday

With summertime vacations approaching, I decided to share a few tips on travelling with kids int the car. My kids have always been good travelers. I'm sure a lot of that is that they are naturally just easy-going kids, but it also helps that they are used to lots of car trips (we went halfway across the country when Wild Man was two weeks old) and because I've developed a few strategies that I use even now that they're older.

1. Plan for stops. We don't try to be heroic and drive six hours without stopping. We usually start early in the morning, so we try to go a good 2 or 3 hours while the kids are still asleep, but then we stop every 1 to 2 hours. For one thing, I'm a big believer in heeding the call of nature - KWIM? Mr. Math Tutor drinks coffee to stay awake, so he needs regular stops. And, I don't limit my kids' drinking water. It's also really good for everyone, but especially little kids, to get out and run around. Now that I'm older, I like to walk to prevent my legs from getting swollen - yuck!

2. Audiobooks. We don't have a DVD in the car for the kids and I don't plan to get one. Part of the joy of travelling is watching the scenery - we've enjoyed watching cropdusters and balloon festivals over the years. But, audiobooks are great. On our last really long trip, we listened to Eragon on the way there (2 days) and Eldest on the way home (2 days). We have also listened to most of the Focus on the Family Chronicles of Narnia radio dramas as well as all of the Jungle Jam CDs. (Jungle Jam is hysterical for kids and adults - you can get the CDs at CBD.) Remember, though, that the library has tons of audiobooks, so don't feel compelled to go out and buy them since they're pretty pricey.

3. Snacks. What kind of snacks can you eat in the car without making too much of a mess and spending too much money? I generally stick with crumbly, but not very greasy, snacks. That way, clean-up just involves vacuuming the car and not shampooing the upholstery. I buy a bag of crackers, a bag of cookies, and a container of nuts. Then, I put everything into little ziptop sandwich bags that are easy for me to hand out when the kids ask. It is also automatically made into little portion sizes.

4. Clean-up. Who wants to end their vacation with the kids and car a total wreck? I don't have all the answers, but here are a few suggestions. We put one trash bag in the front of the car and another in the back so that no one should have an excuse to put trash on the floor. I give each kid a paper towel whenever I hand them a snack. Kids can only have water in the back seat - it's not sticky like juice and isn't very messy if they spill. (Grownups, of course, can drink what we want, because we're the ones who end up doing the cleaning if we spill!) I also make sure we have at least two containers of wet wipes in the vehicle.

5. Prevent carsickness. Wild Man tends to get carsick, so I've learned what to do to help prevent his getting queasy. When we are on twisty roads or in stop and go traffic for any length of time, I have him use SeaBands. He doesn't really like them, but they seem to help. If he does get queasy, then I go right to Dramamine. He'll sleep, but at least he won't throw up. I don't let him do much reading-type activities in the car unless we're on a straight interstate. I encourage him to listen to the audiobook or put his headphones on with his mp3 player.

1 comment:

Felton/Casey said...

Another thing that works for car sickness that kids do like is peppermint gum or candy. Just like peppermint tea calms a stomach. I chew gum whenever we go in the car for a long time to calm my stomach and it really works.