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How to Survive Long Car Rides With Kids

Car trips are perhaps the quintessential family vacation. Here's tips on making them enjoyable. 

Difficulty Level: Varies      Time Required: Ongoing for about 9 years


Here's How:
  1. Bring lots and lots of snacks, treats, and amusements (see below.)
  2. Stories on audiotapes are a terrific way to pass the time: played either on the car stereo, or in "walkman"-type players. 
  3. Car games like "I spy" are a time-honoured tradition.
  4. Allow time to stop at restaurants or local playgrounds, so the kids can run around. Bring a ball or frisbee too.  
  5. Try to stop at restaurants with ball rooms. Let the kids work off some energy-- maybe even let them play now and eat the meal later, in the car. 
  6. Alternatively, create picnic meals with food bought from restaurants or the deli in a grocery store: this saves money, and gives the kids a chance to play outside.  
  7. Change the kids' seating arrangements to minimize conflicts. 
  8. Give maps to the older kids, and let them mark off your route, and navigate. 
  9. Allow sleeping children plenty of wake-up time: start the wakie-wakie process long before you're going to stop the car.
  10. Bringing along a potty can be a great idea, at a certain stage of life.
Tips:
  1. Depending on your family policy on tv/media consumption, you might want to look into the new trend of renting vcr/tv units for vans and other vehicles. 
  2. With small kids, over-preparing is always better than under-preparation! 
  3. Special car-travel kits can be a good idea: for ex., a travel "desk" suspended from the front seat of a van makes a "desk" for a child to draw, store crayons, etc.

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