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5 tips for helping children be happy on road trips

Electronics help children pass the time on road trips.
Electronics help children pass the time on road trips.
Photo by: Stefanie Cornwall

In Kansas City we are lucky to be centrally located to a lot of great cities. When the occasions arises, perhaps a road trip to one of these cities would present itself.

Children aren't generally known for sitting still and quiet for hours on end. Since they have so much energy, children do better when they are free to run and play. However, when you are planning a road trip, especially one that could require several days and endless hours sitting buckled in the car, you might need a little help with ideas on how to contain the energy. Here are some tips for helping children be happy on road trips:

1. Electronics. At home you probably put a time limit on how much screen time your children get. On road trips you might be a little more lenient on that rule. Make sure your electronics like tablets, phones and hand held game systems are charged and ready to go. Remember to pack the chargers. A dual screen DVD player is also very useful for long trips. Have your children pick out their favorite movies to have in the car. Perhaps consider buying one or two surprise movies to hand out part way through the trip. Movies are a great way to pass large chunks of time.

2. Snacks. Have your children pick out there favorite snacks. Make sure to get some healthy snacks as well as a couple treats. Healthy snacks such as cheese sticks, fruit and veggies with dip may need to be kept cold. Don't forget to pack the cooler and ice packs.

3. Presents. When children are really bored, say, sitting in a car for a few hours, they can be entertained by the littlest things. Visit your local dollar store and pick out a few items to wrap up as presents to give out at different intervals during the car ride. When a meltdown is about to occur, pass out a present as a little distraction.

4. Games. With a little preparation you can make some fun games such as license plate bingo, I spy, matching games and more.

5. Songs. Remember growing up and singing all sorts of fun songs in the car like "She'll be coming around the mountain", "One bottle of pop, two bottles of pop, three bottles of pop…" or "99 Gallons of milk on the wall, 99 gallons of milk..." and probably others. Now it is your turn to teach your kids those amusing travel songs. Bring along their favorite music for an entertaining sing-a-long in the car.

With a variety of activities and snacks, your kids will be having a lot of fun in the car and your family will survive the road trip with fond memories.