“In the end, kids will not remember that fancy toy or game you bought for them; they will remember the time you spent with them.”-Kevin Heath
Traveling with your kids is not exactly a prospect most parents would look forward to.
After all, family road trips do not get a bad rep for nothing. More importantly, kids tend to have even shorter attention spans than their adult counterparts insomuch that they get bored easily and would incessantly nag their parents and ask whether they have arrived yet or not. Apart from that, it does not help that more often than not, you and your kids would be cooped up in a van for what would be a three-hour ride (or less, if you are lucky) at the very least. Indeed, from all these, it can be very easy for your little tots to get on your nerve and you would then begin to question why you even had this idea in the first place.
However, do not fret. Road trips do not necessarily need to be terrible and at the very least, they can be fun for everyone as well. However, you do need to be adequately prepared for the trip ahead to ensure that everyone will have an equally good time. So, if you have long been planning to take a day trip to Sandbox, Pampanga or elsewhere with your little kids in tow, here are some things you ought to keep in mind:
Include your kids from the start
Allow your kids to pick out a destination from a list of pre-selected places you have been thinking of going to. If you gave them the liberty to choose where you go, they will be far more receptive to helping you in planning the trip and will be a lot more excited about it because they are a lot invested in the process. Be sure that the list of places you are considering of having them choose from already have your prior approval so that your kids would not randomly think of a place you could not afford or make a trip to go. For trips that are already pre-planned, include your kids by asking them which stops they would want to take along the way. No matter how big or small, making them feel like a part of the planning process would psyche them up for your upcoming trip.
Start a savings account
If a projected trip is going to last you for days, it would be wise to start saving for it. Anticipate what your expenses would be and have an account ready for that trip specifically. In this way, you would be a lot less stressed about how you would be spending for it and would be able to enjoy it instead with your family.
Make sure a parent sits with the kids every now and then
If you are traveling with your spouse or partner, it would make sense to take turns in driving and keeping the kids company at the back. In this regard, kids would not be causing too much ruckus at the back of the car and are less likely to misbehave owing to a parent’s presence. Furthermore, the parent sitting with the kids might serve as entertainment and comfort to the younger kids and if they are happy, everyone will be happy and a lot less stressed.
To mitigate the likelihood of your kids waiting for something to do, start planning your itinerary the day you decide to make the trip. After all, part of what makes a road trip fun is looking forward to what you would do when you get there. So, encourage your older kids to do some research about your destination and ask them if there is anything they want to do or check out. From there, you can then curate a list of sites and activities you want to do. Remember, the earlier you plan, the better chance you will have in getting a reservation. Some places would require advance reservations and may often discounts if you purchase in advance.
One of the things you should keep in mind is not to cram your car with too many stuff lest your kids get cramped in the back seat. Bringing too many things can potentially spell a disaster and might mean your kids would be a lot crankier for the whole ride. Understandably, you would also want to bring enough to entertain your kids or else suffer through your children’s incessant whines and boredom complaints. So, how do you find a happy balance? Well, more often than not, each child would only need one backpack. Mobile entertainment would be enough to keep them hooked for hours and a few games of theirs. Be sure that everything is age-appropriate and leave toys that tend to have children fighting over. Have kid-friendly movies saved and ready in your electronic device in order to keep them still and quiet when they need to be. Make sure that these are downloaded so that you would not need an internet connection just to watch them.