Thursday, October 13, 2011

Must Haves When Traveling With Children

We just came back from a weekend away.  I realized I have many expected and unexpected responsibilities during a long drive.

Here are just a few hats I wear:

*  Direction giver/GPS checker
     - I never leave my husband in charge of directions because his mind wanders.  If I'm driving he's usually
       fast asleep instead of paying attention to where we need to be going. 

*  Keeper of the snacks
     -water bottles, pretzels, fruit, crackers, granola bars and a few sweets.  Very important to keep up
       every one's energy when traveling.  A hungry adult/child is a crabby and whiny one.

*  Argument settler
     -Self explanatory for any parent.  I lost track of the amount of times I said things like...stop doing that,
       keep your hands to yourself, use your indoor voice, leave his/her stuff alone it's not yours, stop fighting
       and the list goes on and on and on.

*  Game coordinator
     -My kids like to play games in the car.  It keeps them engaged and that makes mommy happy.  A
       few games we like to play are:  searching for different state license plates, 20 questions and I-Spy.

*  Entertainment Bag
    -I make sure both my kids pack a small bag to bring into the car that is separate from their luggage.  This
     bag contains things that will keep them occupied.  It is a life saver because no matter how well you plan
     the kids will get bored.  They pack activity books, coloring books, crayons, a book/magazine to read,
     their DS and small toys.  My daughter likes to pack a few Barbies (hope this stage is over quick) and a
     stuffed animal.  If it's small and will keep them entertained for a while I will let them pack it.  The only
     exception is really tiny toys like Squinkies which are easily lost and nearly impossible to find.
*  Music Controller
     -Everyone has different tastes in music.  Right now my kids don't have i-pods so we have to compromise
      on music choices.  My kids like popular "Top 40" type of music, my son and husband like Country.  My
      responsibility is to make sure everyone gets a chance to listen to what they like.  Sometimes we've run
      through the Cd's and the radio stations are full of static.  In my world that can be pure hell.  So, I always
      try to keep the radio on until we get to a point where we can't find a good station to listen to and then I
      I put the Cd's on.

*  Movie director
     -If we're borrowing my dad's van I am in charge of the movies being played on the DVD player.  It's hard
       to get the kids to agree.  I have a boy and girl so it can be a struggle.  My son likes sport based movies
       and my daughter likes girly movies and cartoons.  Depending on how long we're going to be
       in the van I have them choose 3-5 movies and I am the enforcer of compromise.

*  Rest Stop Coordinator
   -This goes along with direction giver/GPS checker.  My job is to plan out stops to use the bathroom and
     stretch.  This is very important.  Kids need to run around after being in the car for a few hours and they
     have a harder time waiting to use the bathroom.  Adults just need to stretch so their backs don't freeze
     up.  I have a bad back/neck/shoulder so this is very important.  I wasn't able to plan in enough stops
     on the way back from our last trip (because we started home late) and my body screamed at me for days
     after.  So, always plan stops in your travels.  Your body will thank you later.

And finally....

*  Climate Control
     -This is very important!  No one's body has the same temperature thermostat.  It's a very fine line to walk
      especially if it's extremely cold or hot outside.  Again, a lot of compromise comes with this responsibility.
      I make sure the kids bring a sweater or jacket to keep them warm in case the car is too cold for them.

Oh, and another must is pillows or pillow pets. Kids get tired during car rides and there's nothing worse than trying to find a comfortable place to put your head while you close your eyes.  I always make sure they bring pillows with them into the car.

Do you have any responsibilities when your family is traveling?  How do you keep things running smoothly?  Do you have any go to's to keep your kids from getting bored and cranky?  I'd love to hear them!

1 comment:

Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos said...

I can so relate to this it isn't even funny.

I have so many travel posts, because when we travel, Murphy comes along for the ride...