"He's touching me!" "We didn't do anything fun..." "All he ever does is punch me in the face!" "My sister hates me!"
I mean, it can be like playing a giant, never-ending game of whack-a-mole -- and everyone in the car is losing!
In this week's video, I'm giving you 5 practical tools to help get that peaceful trip you have only daydreamed about.
As a mom you don't want to just swat at your kids in the back seat because let's face it, it just doesn't satisfy or get the behavior you really want.
Are you ready to move from angry mom to peaceful mom?
I'm curious to hear from you, what is the biggest challenge you face during a trip?
Pack Those Snacks
One of the best things about a road trip is the fact it is time to let loose and relax. That also means you can take a break from your normal rules for eating if you want to. Start off by packing a good mix of fun snacks. Find out what your kids’ favorite healthy snacks are, and then throw in some sweet treats! Put a cooler within easy reach, and pass out some snacks when everyone gets hungry! This can be an ideal way to keep the mood light and still have a lot of fun! Some of our favorite treats are UNReal candies (think of them as a healthy version of some of your classic favorites like M&Ms, or Reeses Peanut-butter Cups), Seaweed Snacks (my boys eat them like they are potato chips, and this year we've got the boys next door addicted too), sandwiches, kombucha and even some of our homemade gummies - we've even made a video about how to make these incredible, and incredibly healthy, treats. These options will go a long way in satisfying your hunger and your sweet tooth, and with ingredients, you can feel great about. Eat them with confidence, knowing that your body is staying strong! For more healthy eating on the road, click here.
If you're reading this right now, I'm guessing that you're a pro at figuring out some healthy snack ideas. Give me your top go-to snack options for your kids, so the other parents that are watching can have some great options for their kids.
If you're like me you can only listen to your kids' music CD for so long before it makes you want to jump out the window of the car as it's moving down the highway. The threat of serious injuries won't even slow you down. If the A-Team or MacGyver could do it then there is a chance you'll be able to do the same thing. And a chance is all you need, as long as it makes the music stop.
So if we're going to listen to something we might as well make it a book or a podcast that the whole family will love. Or at least "tolerate". These days there is a huge variety of audio entertainment to choose from. You can get audiobooks on your phone and plug them into the aux cord to play over the speakers., or even buy an inexpensive external speaker for the kids to listen to on their own. If you're really adventurous you could let the kids download some of their own personal favorites and listen through their own headphones.
Here are a few of our favorite go-to stories:
Adventures in Odyssey - the classic radio is available for purchase or download. It's a series of stories about a group of characters in the town of Odyssey who goes through adventures that teach children about morals and character traits that are taught in the Bible. While the series is Christian, not every story talks about the Bible or Jesus.
The Brinkman Adventures is about a family that travels the world as missionaries. They have some harrowing adventures, and some of the stories are only appropriate for children over ten years old. The stories emphasize good morals, and they talk clearly about what it means to have a relationship with Jesus.
Scribd - after using Amazon Kindle and Audible services, and a friend recommended Scribd to Jim. It is a service that combines e-books, audiobooks, podcasts, and even uploaded documents. While its library is not as robust as using Kindle and Audible, it is much less money.
Listening to a few fun podcasts like Big Life Journal (teaching your kids a growth mindset), Brains On (a fun journey into the answers to your fascinating questions about the world), and Pants on Fire (your kids have to guess which of the guests on the podcast is an expert in a certain subject, and which of the guests is only pretending) is a sure win for your road trip!
Do you guys have a favorite podcast or audio series your kids like to listen to?
We love our friends over at Big Life Journal. They provide great resources and tools for parents who want to help their kids develop a growth mindset - ready to have a positive attitude toward challenges and difficulties, and to see them as opportunities for growth - you may also know this vital character trait as GRIT.
They shared a tool we implement to support sibling kindness. The way this works is with the Sibling Kindness Jar. One child chooses an act of kindness to do for a sibling. Once he's done the act, he places a star someplace the sibling can find it. You can adapt this to work on the road as well.
Do you have any secret recipes to get your kids to treat each other more lovingly?
Regular rest breaks
I remember being pregnant with my twins and being COMPLETELY MISERABLE. At night I would wake up every hour or two with excruciating pain in my hips. I needed to turn over, but my belly was so big I just couldn't do it on my own. Every day I would tell Jim, "If I didn't know there was an end to this, I don't know if I could have made it through." Then, the same thing happened during labor. I knew that I could push through the pain because there was an end in sight.
As you're traveling with the kids, always have a goal that they are aware of. You've been there before, the "Are we there yet?" game. It's not fun for anyone, but they're struggling because it might seem like there is no end in sight. And that's a miserable place to be. If you're keeping a tangible goal in front of the kids that will help them regulate their expectations as they hunker down for the ride. Try this with sticky notes on the windows. If you've got a 500-mile trip scheduled, break those miles up onto sticky notes so everyone can celebrate the countdown and tear off a sticky note as you pass through those miles!
For about a hundred reasons, our family doesn't like to travel more than about 4 hours at a time. Even keeping the intervals a little shorter, we like to let the boys know what time they can expect us to arrive at our destination. They may not be able to "feel" how long we have been driving, but they can check out the dashboard clock to get an idea. This also helps with a little math practice for the kids. Which they a sure to love.
What kind of limit do you normally place on your travel days? How do your kids handle longer stretches of time in the car?
Released early for good behavior
When you were growing up you always behaved like a little angel, simply because it was the right thing to do. And while we may not be as good at parenting as our parents were, we at least know that setting up a simple reward can be a great way to keep someone's behavior on point. Now let's not lose sight of the fact that we aren't implying that you give in to your child's every demand. But recognize that it's ok to tell your kids they'll get a prize if they reach a goal in order to give them an incentive to get there.
And here's a little side note on this one. The incentive can be food, money, or our new favorite, a fun experience like getting to go to the playground. Help them focus on the reward at the end of the tunnel instead of the tunnel itself.
Have you ever used a reward to motivate your kids to do the right thing?
If you're like me, you may be sitting here thinking - this all sounds good, but you aren't quite sure where to begin. If you want a bit more support when it comes to planning your next trip, find us on our sister site, XploretheUnseen.com. You can schedule a quick chat with us and we'll help you find the next best steps for you and your family. We'll help you make that next travel adventure the best yet!
Watch the full video here:
Other Videos in this Series:
How You Can Stay Healthy While on the Road