Holly and Rodney are planning a road trip and need help! Although they'll bring the iPods, DVD players and books on tape, they're also looking for activities for the children to do while on the open road. The Peetes talk with Ginny Bishop, author of Tween Time and mother of six, about tips to help the children survive road trips. Plus, Holly and Rodney look to callers to share their advice and experiences too.
It's important to remember that road trips are trips, not vacations, Ginny says. "Your destination is the vacation; the road trip is just your means to get there," she says. "But you want to see how much fun you can make that trip." First and foremost, ask the children to get involved before you leave. "Invite the kids to help plan," Ginny says. "It's key because then they have something to look forward to." Getting the children involved in planning also gives you the opportunity to teach your children about mapping, budgeting, how much gas will be used and more.
Ginny says to create a "car-go" bag for each child. Children 6 years and older can make their own bags while parents can assemble bags for smaller children. Take an old beach bag and personalize it—for example, use ink stamps or tie-dye techniques. Inside, be sure to include a map, puzzles, gum for bubble-blowing contests, a disposable or digital camera, a writing journal to jot down notes and jars of bubbles to blow out the window. For tween girls, stamped postcards to send to their friends back home are a special touch. By adding their developed photos to their trip journals, the children can create memory scrapbooks from the different sites and activities of the trip.
Ginny also suggests letting your children make their own CDs to play in the car and allowing everyone to have 30 minutes to get their CD played. Ginny says this allows you to connect with your children and get a glimpse into their interests without seeming like a pest.
If you find yourself trying to control quarreling children, try the silent game, which is popular with Ginny's six children. The child that stays quiet the longest wins a dollar. More importantly, the silence positively changes the dynamic in the car, Ginny says.