Summer Vacation & Kids

May 8, 2010 by  

How to you Get kids to Behave In the Car?

They look like angels here! But were they in the car?

So you are off on your vacation. Everyone is excited..the car is loaded and off you go!  For the first 15 minutes it is wonderful. You are talking about what it will be like when you get there.  Then little Jimmy takes little Sissy’s barbie doll…and all heck breaks loose….for the next 13 hours!

Sound familiar?  So what do you do to help keep your kids occupied on a trip?

Have plenty of things lined up to do.

1) Books – They are wonderful if your kids read. Make a special trip to the book store or library so that book seems really special.

2) Stories on CD – You can get at the library or bookstore.

3) DVD Players – I think this is a saving grace. We have a portable one we bought only for trips. But we don’t use it the whole way.

4) Have a pad of paper & pencil for each child. Play the License plate game (they list all the states they see) or the ABC game. Find the ABC’s on signs and the first person to get to Z wins.

5) Take non messy snacks and water. Fruit snacks are good or dried fruit. Small bite size crackers don’t make too much mess either. It is best to dole these out in individual bags for each child.

Have a Plan for Rewarding Good Behavior

Should good behavior be expected? Well sure.  Should it always be rewarded…nope . But come on, we are talking a 13 hour car ride straped in a seatbelt or car seat…we can’t ask for miracles.

1) We rewarded each child with .25 cents (yes..only a quarter and this included the 14 & 15 yr old) for each hour they behaved.  The real deal was that they had to ALL behave so that any of them could get their quarter. It worked great. They didn’t want to bug each other because they knew if they ticked that person off…they might lose their own quarter.  After a total of over 27 hours in the car (both ways) I think there was only 4 hours they didn’t earn their quarters. It gave them a little extra spending money and it was enough incentive to give them encouragement.  Did it take dollars each hour? Nope…just a quarter.

2) You can make a sticker chart or some other form of reward chart. They can do something special on the trip.

Give the kids Time Markers

Are we there yet?  How many times do you get that question?

Make some kind of visual marker so the kids can see how many hours are gone.  We have used CD tapes before. We used to have them in a console and each hour we would turn one a different direction. We only had up the # of hours we were driving. So the kids could see how close we were to the time we were to get there.  You can use lifesavers on a string. You could use beads or stickers on a chart.

I think if the kids feel a little more “in control” then they will be a little less “out of control” in the car.

Don’t forget…you can always do the old stand by = Drive at night so they will sleep.

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2 Responses to “Summer Vacation & Kids”
  1. Karen says:

    Every few hours we switch seats (usually at potty stops). Since I have a van with 2 captains chairs in the middle and a bench seat in back my oldest switch between the captain’s chair and the bench seat. Between the books and DVDs and snacks they generally stay calm. As soon as they start to fuss we pull over for a potty stop and to stretch and move about. We keep a flat ball (ball/frisbee) in the back for them to run and play with at the stops. 10-15 mins of exercise calms them down for the remainder.

  2. Sandy says:

    OMG yes….we have to do the “rotation” too. Although we give the 2 oldest boys the preference of which seats they want. There has to be something good about seniority! LOL

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