Summer road trips are such amazing opportunities for adventure and learning. But they can also be stressful. Hot and long, both parents and children soon find themselves tired and irritable. To avoid this we plan our trips carefully and think about how we can minimize the stress. We also think about safety.
Our road speeds in Canada vary, but they are usually set around 100 kilometres an hour. That means everything in the car is travelling at 100kms an hour. Loose objects in the car can become dangerous weapons even at much slower speeds. Plastics shatter as easily as glass and books hit as hard as boulders. So when packing things for Quentin to do in the car, we always put safety first.
Our number one pick is the small iPod Suffle with volume limiting, child sized headphones. We put lots of his favourite music and some audio books on there. It is small, compact and easy to use. Quentin will often only do this on long trips. He is content to sit and listen.
“Busy Books” are another favourite. Sewing, matching games and felt dress up figures. This one was made for us as a gift.
A small soft covered Moleskine note book and our Lyra Ferby pencils are another favourite. He can draw, or just make notes.
He keeps everything including some water in a water bottle in the little backpack shown here. The pack keeps his things contained, in a soft shell and he takes each out one at a time to work.
We also talk. About what we see, the things we are going to do etc.
Even with activities, small children still need to stretch their legs. So we make sure to plan stops. Things that will enrich our trip, give Quentin an opportunity to run around and just have some fun. We Follow the Child. Quentin can usually go 1.5-2 hours in the car without stopping. If your child needs more frequent stops, respect that by giving their little bodies what they need.
For Quentin it’s penguins. If we are near our closest aquarium (which we almost never are) we always stop.
Then there’s the hotels. They must have a pool, for night time cooling off before bed. When we get there, we make sure it’s a big comfy bed for him to lay out on. A bed he gets all to himself. We let him bounce, make forts and just, well, just be a kid.