Rules for Roadtrips

8 tips to help make your journey more enjoyable.

1. Hit the road early. If you'll be traveling a long distance, leave as early as you can -- maybe even before the kids get up. Take along some juice so you can give them something to drink when they rise, have healthy snacks packed, make sure all bags are good to go, then stop for breakfast.

2. Make frequent pit stops. Give everyone an ample chance to walk around, stretch their legs and release pent-up energy. Also, plan where you'll be stopping for meals and overnight stays -- that way you won't be caught searching for a place when everyone's hungry or tired.

3. Bring along new toys. You can surprise the kids with small new car toys throughout the trip.

4. Map it out. Older children will enjoy following your route on a road atlas, which is also filled with geographical and historical information. Before you go, tell kids anything about special historical/geography events.

5. Put together individual snack kits. Fill plastic containers with fruit, veggie sticks, and other age-appropriate snacks and give one to each child. Throw in a few moist towelettes to clean off sticky hands.

6. Play books on tape or CDs. Kid-friendly car games/music will also help pass the time.

7. Keep things organized. Drape a compartmentalized bag over the back of the front seats in which kids can store their pens, books and games. And avoid bringing along toys with small pieces (which are bound to get lost) and crayons (which will melt in a hot car).

8. Provide a neck rest. Invest in baby- or toddler-size rests so your children can nap comfortably.

Parents Magazine

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