The truth is that those cardboard boxes full of road trip activities that my mother so lovingly put together did absolutely nothing to shut us up. My sister, my brother and I think of National Lampoon vacation flicks as home movies. There's something about being cooped up in a car that brings the worst out in even nice kids.
So this is what I think: All the good-mother planning in the world won't stop your kids from asking, "Are we there yet?" three seconds out of the driveway. But most my fond memories of road trip vacations are of my mom trying. All those maze books, games of I Spy, those boards you draw on and pull up the plastic sheet and the drawing disappears. So, carrying on the tradition, here are 20 loving ideas for keeping the kids quiet, drawn from the moms at iVillage.
1. Map it out
"Before we take a car trip we map it out with the kids, trying to find towns and little places along the way where we can stop and rest. That way the kids know what to expect, and it makes for much more enjoyable travel."
2. Plan frequent stops
"Break the trip up with stops along the way. You may add some time to the trip, but everyone will be a lot less cranky. Find some interesting spots that are either historic or simply beautiful. Try to involve your children in the planning, and teach them how to read a map."
3. Organize your packing
"When my children were young (under five years old), I planned their outfits for each day of our trip, complete with underwear and socks, and put each day's combination of clothing into a large Ziploc bag. It made our mornings so much easier not having to dig through a suitcase to find matching shirts and shorts or pants. As my children became older, I had them help choose what to put in each bag before we left for our trip. In addition to keeping us organized, it helped the children understand how many days we would be traveling, as well as what we might be doing on various days."