By Jodie Lynn
Got Kids - Will Travel - Even With a Car Full!
"Mom, Trey hit me," screamed Gabby. "You grabbed my headphones first and popped me in the ear," shouted Trey. It's one thing when kids are in the house while arguing; you can separate them and put them in their own rooms. But there, inside the car as you try to squeeze all of the different personalities into one small space, tempers are bound to flair, and flair and flair.
Especially with these competitive twins.
This is the time of year when families begin to plan for their vacations. Due to the uncertainty of overcrowding airplanes and high prices of tickets, when you have four or more kids, many will be taking to the roads via automobiles and need help in trying to make it a good experience. Why do vacations seem more like work than, well, vacations?
Some pointers that other well-seasoned kind families have shared are listed below. It's great because through trial and error, these parents have found that these doable tricks-of-the-trade really do work.
Plan ahead and get the kids involved in the planning the trip along with a map or road atlas.
Discuss what you will see and perhaps get a video of where you are going.
Check out possible points of interest along the route and stop there for meals or a stretch.
Kids enjoy talking into a tape recorder to "report" what is out the window or other momentary facts.
Borrow great classics on tape from the library. Use cassette recorder to play "The Borrowers" and "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
Bring along a bag of distractions. Hand them out only as a last resort.
Buy things ahead of time by doing shopping on a weekly basis. This will help to spread out the cost and to consider taking things back if you find something you think they might like better.
Start your trip early around 3:00 a.m. so the kids will still want to sleep through the morning.
Make frequent stops to use the bathroom
Eat light dried non-salty snacks.
Do not let the kids drink caffeine.
Run around and stretch at the rest stops.
When traveling with twins, or any kids, get things for them to share and things just for each child. LeapFrog has all kinds of travel kits as well as those that are off brands but are just as entertaining. "Trouble-Free Travel With Children" by Vicki Lansky, (Book Peddlers, $9.95) has tons of things to do with your children as well as plenty of ideas to do before you get started to ensure it is the best one yet. The "Everything Kids Travel Activity Book," by Erik Hansen (Adams Media Corporation, $6.95) has many choices for kids in the age range of 8 to 12. Think about buying music that everyone in the car will enjoy like "The Trees of Life," by Steve Schuch, (Night Heron Music, $15.00) which is now available at www.nightheron.com and "Kids Rock 'n Roll Party," by ROSENSHONTZ - Gary Rosen and Bill Shontz of Teddy Bears' Picnic - (Lightyear Entertainment, $6.95) has cool rock 'n roll tunes from the 70's in today's kids' words and themes.
"Dad, I hate to always have to sit by Aunt Martha. She kisses me too much and asks me stupid questions," says Karen. Dad looked at Karen and quietly replied, "Well, you can always sit by your twin sister." "No way, I'm not sitting by her! When we pick up Aunt Martha, I will just ask her to listen to my new CD for a while and maybe share my cheese crackers."
Dad gave mom a knowing look like, "I told you I could keep things running smooth." Mom glanced at the clock on the dashboard indicating all of twenty-minutes had passed, gazed out the window and silently thought, "Yes, you were right again dear, and I can't wait to see how the other fifteen hours go."