3 Tips for Traveling This Summer With Kids
Over the past 12 months or so, my “tangible” skill set has grown exponentially thanks to my job search. Writing cover letters, developing résumés, and keeping my composure in Head of School interviews has even surprised me. But when I think about perhaps the greatest “skill” I’ve cultivated during the past year it is, without question, mastering the art of the long family car ride. Given the multiple excursions from Maine to New Jersey, Rachel and I have figured out a thing or two than have helped keep our sanity…perhaps some of these might help you!
- Stop multi-tasking! While I generally enjoy making work calls during my drives (thank you, Bluetooth!), doing so with three kids in the car is simply asking for trouble. The famous last words, “Guys…daddy has a quick phone call to make; could you be nice and quiet for me?” inevitably turned into full on bedlam in the car. Being present for some singing to a variety of Disney songs or just some family conversation proved far more fun and productive than a work-related call.
- Let go of some family “rules.” Generally, we try to avoid, wherever possible, frequenting a certain fast food chain with golden arches. My kids (and I’m not quite sure how this happened) absolutely love it. So while we adamantly abstain from eating McDonald’s in our normal lives, road trips are a different story. It’s amazing what a Happy Meal can do for a kid’s spirits! Perhaps for your family, you need to ease up on technology or some other sacred cow. It worked for us.
- Avoid the “Are we there yet!” Perhaps nothing is more demoralizing than when the kids start to ask if we have arrived at our destination after having been in the car for about fifteen minutes. “No, honey, we’ll be there in about seven hours” just doesn’t resonate with a four year old much. To help avoid this type of pestering, make sure you are prepared with a litany of games and other activities for your kids. Some of the tried and true ones the Folans enjoy include the “License plate” scavenger hunt, rocking out to some Pandora, “I spy”, and even some Mad Libs have helped us pass the time.
As you prepare for your own family excursions this summer, I hope some of these tips are helpful in turning these road trips into some of the more memorable parts of your vacations. We look forward to our road trip down to Sparta at the end of June to join the Hilltop family. See you soon!
-Kevin Folan, incoming Head of School