SUMMER TOGETHER: ADVICE FROM THE KID IN THE BACK SEAT
Growing up, my family traveled a LOT. My parents’ favorite thing about my siblings and I being homeschooled while growing up was that they were able to take us on many trips with them. Instead of simply reading history textbooks, we had the opportunity to visit the places where historical events happened such as Washington D.C., Philadelphia, Williamsburg, and other really cool places. We even involved our science studies by visiting Carlsbad Caverns.
All of these trips were a huge part of my childhood and some of my best memories so far…but did I mention that we DROVE to all those places? Yeah, hours…and hours…and hours of driving. And I was stuck in the backseat. So, from my experience I would love to share advice with you on how to keep your kids entertained through all of your traveling this year. (Side note: if you’re able to travel at ANY other time than the summer…it’s better. Trust me. Especially Disneyworld, never go to Disneyworld in the summer…September or April are your best options for that!)
OK, let’s get the obvious out of the way: books and movies. For your older kids, encourage them to get their summer reading out of the way or even just pick ONE book that they like. I’ll admit that I’m still not a very good reader in the car because I’m too distracted, but it sure does make time go by faster. Movies are the easiest entertainment ever, haha. And if your kids are like my siblings and I were, make them take turns picking out the next movie, or just pick them out yourself to avoid the arguing. If you don’t have an entertainment system in your car, but you have a tablet, I know Amazon sells car mounts like this one to hang up your iPad to the back of your chairs.
Now, I know there are many parents out there who are not comfortable with their children watching movies for hours on end, so here are a couple other ideas. For the younger kids, get them a lap desk for the car. This allows them to draw and color, or my personal favorite, make endless creations using “Wikki Sticks.” I LOVED these things when I was little. They are non-messy little strings covered in wax so you can bend them any way you want to and stick them to a surface to create pictures, words, shapes…endless imaginative possibilities. Seriously, they are too fun. I would play with them now.
As teenagers, the dire need for entertainment was a little less but we did find some fun ways to keep ourselves occupied. My favorite was making friendship bracelets. There’s so many different ways to make them that I could stay entertained for hours. Honestly, my brothers either took over the tiny travel TV we had with their video games or stuck in their headphones to listen to music. Also, one last piece of advice; buying headphone splitters so the kids can share their music and let the adults in the front have their peace is a good investment.
I hope all of you who are travelling this summer (or in the future at any point) have a wonderful, safe time! And, I hope my advice will make it a little bit less “boring”, and a little bit more enjoyable. Also, if you don’t have any family trips planned, make a plan for one, even if it’s a small trip. Because, like I said, family road trips make up most of my favorite childhood memories. It is the best together time a family can have. -Hannah