With Memorial Day quickly approaching, many of us are making vacation plans. For some this involves nothing but relaxation and enjoyment; however, for those of you with kids, traveling long distances may seem less like a vacation and more like a form of punishment. Here are some easy and effective ways to keep your kids entertained this Memorial Day.
Start the trip off on a good note. Rather than telling your kids how you are going to punish them if they misbehave, tell them how you are going to reward them if they do behave well on the trip. Some may call this bribing you children, but most children react better to positive reinforcement than negative. This method teaches them that if they mind they will get something they want in return; whereas, punishing them after they misbehave only causes everyone on the trip to be miserable. A good idea for a reward may be a video game or movie they have been wanting. This way they can entertain themselves with their gift on the way home.
Having the proper forms of entertainment for your child is crucial to a quiet ride. In my experience movies give you the most bang for your buck. Bringing along a few good movies can knock out several hours of a trip and make it seem like a shorter amount of time to your child. Handheld video games are also a great mechanism for keeping your child occupied. It is not a bad idea to stock up on these items before the trip. A couple of twenty-dollar bills may seem like a bargain after a few hours into your travels.
It is important to remember that time goes by much slower to a child than it does to an adult. Making regular stops every hour or so is a good way to prevent stress and frustration from building up for all members of the vacation. If possible, it is also a good idea to stop and eat perhaps slightly more frequently than you would if you were not traveling. This gives your child the opportunity to stretch and use the restroom, two things that add to the irritability of children. Also, eating regularly will also help them to fall asleep more easily and stay asleep longer; which on a trip lasting several hours this may be the best possible solution.