Going on a road trip can be a lot of fun, but it can also be stressful. All that time behind the wheel can put you more at risk of getting into an accident. You may find yourself driving through some difficult conditions too. For example, if you’re driving through the Arizona desert, you might experience dust storms with clouds up to 5,000 feet high. No matter where you drive, you can find yourself in stop-and-go traffic in a construction zone, or you can get stuck driving through a downpour.

It’s important to be able to focus on the road, which can be difficult to do if you have a back seat full of kids. Make it easier and safer for you to drive by encouraging your children to be better passengers as you travel.

Discuss rules and expectations before you leave

Every car should have rules. One of the most important is that everyone should wear their own seat belt at all times, but you may want to think about adding other rules to the list before going on a road trip.

For example, you can make rules about who gets control of the radio and when, or you can ask all your children to use the toilet, even if they think they don’t have to go, every time you make a stop.

No matter what rules you decide on, it’s important to discuss them with your kids before you leave. Make sure they understand the rules and ask them for their input. If they have something to say, they are more likely to follow along.

Give them something to do.

No matter how beautiful the scenery or how exciting the destination, the kids are going to get bored in the back seat eventually. Make sure they have something to do.

Devices can be useful for listening to music and watching movies, but there are plenty of other great travel activities that children can do to have fun. A few ideas include:

Binder full of worksheets and activities

  • Magnetic laptop table with games, such as Tic Tac Toe
  • Roadtrip bingo
  • Sticker books
  • Tangrams
  • Books

Snacks and drinks at your fingertips

Children can get grumpy quickly when they get hungry or thirsty. Not to mention, they may end up whining about it. If you don’t have food and drinks at your fingertips, you may find that your patience has long been tested before you arrive at your destination.

Pack lots of road trip snacks in advance and place them in the back seat where the kids can easily reach them. That way, there is no nagging and there is no need to deform your body to hand them snacks in the back seat.

Make sure you have drinks on hand as well, but you may want to keep them out of the back seat. Some children can drink thoughtlessly, which will only lead to more bathroom stops. Instead, keep their drink close and give it to them whenever they eat a snack.

Have the children change seats

Sitting in the car in the same place is boring, no matter how many activities or games you do. Something as simple as having the kids change seats can really help.

If your kids are in car seats, you probably don’t want to change them, but older kids can switch the next time you make a toilet stop. It’s even more fun when one of the kids gets to sit in the front while one of the matures sits in the back!

Handle Disputes Immediately

If you have more than one child in the back seat, chances are they will get into at least one action. It is important to know what to do if they are quarrelsome in the back seat.

Don’t assume they’ll find out for themselves. That will only make you explode, which can be peril when driving. Handle disputes immediately, even if it means stopping the car. Do your best to remain unbiased, keep your energy low, and make sure they are aware of the consequences if they persist. Rewards can also be used, if you can see that they just become restless.

Kids will be kids, even if they’re in the back seat and you’re trying to drive. Use these tips to help you enjoy the safest, quietest road trip possible.

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