Hold The TechnologyTell your children that technology is not an option until you say it is. This strategy is useful for preventing technology burnout that may happen long before the trip is over. You will be fresher yourself and can interact better at the beginning of the trip. That means that this strategy makes sense for you, too.
Start With The WindowFor stage 1, think of the window as your friend. Car bingo is excellent for getting children engaged in their surroundings. Each child gets five items to find, such as a barn, a blue car, a road sign with the letter Q, etc. You may need to play along with a younger child or with an only child. Each time they accomplish their goal, give them five more items. Also, try the ABC game where they must find items beginning with each letter or where they must find words on signs beginning with each letter.
Inside the CarFor stage 2, you can move the focus inside the car. I-Spy or Twenty Questions can keep children occupied. A game called school is actually a fun way to pass some time. Children are asked simple, even silly question, and they graduate to the next grade each time they get it right. These questions can be tailored to their interests, such as dinosaurs, favorite books, favorite cartoons, etc. For even more fun, let them ask you questions and see just who reaches graduation first.
Surprise!For stage 3, when their interest wanes, reach under the seat and pull out a surprise gift. The best kind is interactive such as a coloring book or puzzle book, assuming that this will not cause car sickness. Other ideas include an Etch-A-Sketch or other item that can be erased and redone, over and over again. Stage 4 is a surprise food, but keep sugar to a minimum.
Relief!Stage 5 is quiet time, which may include the promise of technology at the end. Once you have exhausted all other ideas, that’s when technology is your friend. Let them listen to child-friendly music for a while before you give into screen time. If everyone sings along, it will help them pass the time more than if they listen alone. If you offer them a new game or movie, you can be sure technology will hold their attention in a positive way for a longer period of time. Truly, children will be happier if you help them break up the trip with many different activities, saving technology for the end of the trip. Of course, you'll be happier too.
If you are travelling with two or more children, it is advantageous to travel in a spacious car that affords each child their own personal space. This will go a long way in reducing backseat squabbles and consequently allow you to keep your eyes on the road. www.suzukiqld.com.au is a great place to find a vehicle that will keep every member of the family happy on long road-trips.
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