Surviving a Road Trip With Kids


For families traveling with young kids in tow, that redundant “Are we there yet?” mantra can spin you into insanity like a Cyndi Lauper CD stuck on a repeat. Here go a few hints to help divert attention elsewhere:

Start a scavenger Hunt: Prevent back-seat brawls by giving young passengers a list of items to look for along the road. In cities, think flashing traffic lights or black-and-white pedestrian crosswalks. In the countryside, have them scout for a grain silo or a cow that’s lying down. The more elusive the items, the longer the fun (and the peace) will last.


Play the License Plate Game: This perennial road-trip favorite is sure to keep them focused (for a while, anyway); you can up the ante by awarding bonus points for sightings of license plates from Mexico, Hawaii and United States.


Music to the Rescue: A family sing-a-long can neutralize nitpicking by putting the focus elsewhere (how about a long and laborious version of ’99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall’?). When things get chaotic, switching to classical music or talk shows with calm personalities (think NPR) can lead to an overall calming effect in the car.


Snacks: We’re not saying food should be used Pavlov-style to induce good behavior, but a juice box or stick of string cheese pulled out at precisely the right moment can work wonders when it comes to tantrum control. Ginger snaps are a great snack food that works double-time by helping combat carsickness.


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