Tips for traveling with children this holiday season
With the holidays just around the corner, many of us are planning on road-trippin' to see family around the country. Traveling by car can be fun but doing so with a child, especially a tween with ADHD, adds a layer of complexity, and if you’re traveling by car for longer distances, you could end up in a straight jacket before you even make it out of your neighborhood. Never fear and remember the wisdom of the old saying, “Hope for the best and prepare for the worst”.
Before you set out in the family car, make sure you have plenty of activities to keep your kiddo occupied and whine-free. In our car trips around the country, we always remember to pack our daughter's iPad with a portable charger and headphones (extra emphasis on the word headphones). I mean, have you ever had to listen to hours and hours of Minecraft YouTube videos?
We also make sure to pack a bounty of snacks and drinks to keep her satisfied between meals, and non-screen activities, like a sketch pad and markers.
Traveling with kids is way different from when my husband and I were children. With all the laws and regulations about child safety seats and seat belts, gone are the days when brothers and sisters fought over who got first dibs on stretching across the backseat.
A good rule of thumb, and I'm sure my husband secretly disagrees, is to stop every two hours to use the bathroom and stretch your legs. And remember, even just an hour seems like an eternity to an ADHD child (or any child, for that matter). Are we there yet? Does that ring a bell? Trust me on this—I know from recent experience! Aside from rolling out of the car while traveling 70 miles per hour, there is no pain greater than listening to a tween incessantly complain about how long it's taking, when we're eating again, the music on the radio—and the list goes on.
And, speaking of music. We have found that if we allow our daughter to play her favorite music—as painful as that can be for us sometimes—she feels in control and is more likely to chill out and not complain.
One last bit of advice is to keep your sense of humor. If you don't laugh, you cry, so the best thing to do is keep a positive attitude.
Remember that no amount of preparation can make traveling with kids completely stress-free but these tips can make it a much more enjoyable journey for all.