Quality time spent together as a family is so important in a child’s life. In fact, children sustain many benefits from quality time, including better communication, improved self-esteem, and better overall mental health. But how can you, as a parent, achieve that quality time without forcing the issue? My advice is to pack up the car and hit the road; you’re going on a fun family road trip!
Embarking on a family road trip with kids can seem super intimidating – especially if you’re a single parent like me. But with a good plan, the right approach, and a positive attitude, you can turn a long drive into the adventure of a lifetime.
Planning Where to Go
The first step in any fun family road trip is to decide on a destination. There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting your arrival point:
- Age of your children
- Time in the car
- Cost of the destination
- Types of activities at the destination
Every family is different, so there’s no cookie-cutter road trip plan that you can just choose and roll with. You have to look at the wants and needs of the members of your family. From there, you can narrow down destination ideas. For instance, the first detail on our list to consider is the age of your children. A cross-country road trip from New York to California may sound fun to you, but it may not be the best idea for a fidgety 3-year-old. Pick somewhere fun, engaging, and age-appropriate, and make sure the time spent in the car is conducive for your family.
Packing the Car
First things first: you need to be sure that your car can handle this trip. Sure, mechanically speaking is very important; I’d recommend getting a quick inspection done before the trip. But I’m also talking size.
A small car can make for a pretty miserable family trip, so it’s best to go with a midsize car if possible. Everyone in the car will need space to move, and you also need room for everything you’re taking with you. This includes suitcases, snacks, pillows, games, and more. Midsize cars have better gas mileage than others as well, which is a huge plus for your budget.
Hitting the Road
Remember that the goal of this trip is to spend some quality time together as a family. It’s easy to throw on a movie or let older kids entertain themselves with phones and tablets, but that leads to a silent car with virtually no bonding.
Try some of these car activities to keep the fun going on the road:
- Road trip playlist and singing
- License plate game
- I Spy
- Car-friendly crafts like beading
- Prepare topics of conversation
- Favorite snacks
- Digital/disposable cameras
Incorporating some of the items above can help make your trip fun and unforgettable.