Traveling with children always requires some additional forethought and initiative for parents. Every developmental group has a different need and requirement to keep them engaged and not restless. We’ve all encountered the antsy child with an overabundance of energy bouncing off the walls at the airports, in the car rental offices, at the hotels and in the restaurants. While there is no quick fix solution to make traveling more manageable; here are a few suggestions to redirect the energy of young children when traveling. When you are renting a car, visit the websites of the major rental companies like Alamo to determine what are the standard features of the size appropriate vehicles being considered for rental.
Make a game of being on the road. While the kids are in the car driving, whether it is across town to the hotel or across the country; plan activities for them that will get them moving and aid in using up their never ending supply of energy. One great idea, if you have several children is to stop in rest areas and encourage them to stretch their legs by racing. Either invent a relay racecourse that gets everyone involved and encourages movement. Sitting in a car or on a plane for an extended period of time can cause blood to stagnate in the body. So if you are driving long distances or visiting a city that is a large metropolitan area like Los Angeles, Chicago or New York and you are traveling by car. Find local parks where the kids can play, run or expend some energy versus everyone sitting on a highway in traffic. It is healthier than stopping to eat and the kids become the center of attention. Taking 15-30 minutes off to exercise can do wonders for the spirit and it can be the best way to help a little one wind down for a nap in the car.
Bring the kids favorite dvd’s for the ride. If the car is equipped with a DVD player for the passengers then incorporate as a reward for winning the responsibility of picking the movie to be viewed. It gives the kids something to look forward to and puts an end to the non-stop bickering of, who should be able to pick the movie. Kids love to be challenged and they love to be rewarded and we all know being in control of the DVD player is a wonderful reward.
Play a game like I Spy or play an educational game like looking for words associated with each letter of the alphabet as you drive. It always gets interesting when you get to the last few letters of the alphabet. Kids become more observant and more engaged looking for words that will help them move forward in the game.
Remember to try to have scheduled break times in the trip so everyone can stretch their legs. It helps to reduce the anxiety of being locked up in the car and gives everyone a needed break.