Even the best planned road trips can be stressful, but adding restless kids into the mix can quickly make it a disaster. Every seasoned parent knows that unhappy backseat passengers are a migraine waiting to happen, but those that stay entertained make everything a lot easier.
Unfortunately, you can’t just hand children an iPad or pop on a movie and expect them to stay satisfied the entire trip. The trick is to come prepared with multiple forms of entertainment at the ready when they start to get ants in their pants. These are the best in-car entertainment options for kids on long drives, parent approved for stress-free (or as close as it gets) travel.
These are the types of games you used to play when you were little. I Spy, Last Letter, and any memory game will do the trick. Make sure these games aren’t about winning, but all about passing the time in a way that lets everyone have fun.
If you have children with a bit of an age gap, you might find that your older child will get bored a little easily with interactive games designed for younger minds. In this scenario, the best bet is to pick a color car and see who can spot the next one first as you prepare for another round of entertainment.
Kids always have a favorite movie, if not multiple. So, pick up a pair of headrest DVD players (don’t let them fight over one screen) and let them watch in wonder for one to two hours. Skip the dual-screen models with connector cables to save yourself a potential headache, especially with curious fingers on younger children. If you have two kids who like two different movies, then you just hit the jackpot.
Tablets and Smart Phones
While tablets and smart phones can play movies too, they also offer a wide variety of other options for entertainment. You can buy a headrest mount for younger kids while allowing older ones to simply have at it. Plus, battery times last for hours without a charging cable.
Make sure you have parental controls set, and a few apps with fun or educational games ready to go. If your little ones get bored, switch to the next app. If that doesn’t work, you can always connect them via Bluetooth for a little “carpool” karaoke.
There are multiple companies that create washable markers and “water magic” coloring books that allow the little artist in your kids to come out without having to worry about getting stains out of the backseat. Lego Duplo blocks are also a great way to keep younger minds occupied.
Before you’re pulling your hair out and ready to run to an Orange County family law attorney, here’s some extra advice on must-haves from the professionals (parents and legal counsel alike):
- Sippy cups
- Sun-blocking shades
- A portable potty
- And planned stops to get out and stretch your legs