The holiday season is upon us and many families will be travelling. What is required for a peaceful trip to transpire? Firstly, have your expectations firmly in place before you go. Discuss with the children what you anticipate doing on the trip. Depending on their age you could discuss your destination, have them do some research, look at a map and discuss what you and they would like to do.
We did a lot of travelling with our children when they all lived at home. We drove. Yes, even thousands of miles! We expected them to sit in their car seats or with seat belts but we took books, games, puzzles, cards, colouring books and CDs to play. We played games together (eye spy and the punch buggy games were the favoured ones), counted waterfalls, sang, and had quiet seat contests. The quiet seat contests were for our sanity; we needed the peace and quiet at times! I still think someone should invent a cone of silence for the car that would surround parents. One that they could just press and it would divide the children from the parents! We knew that we would have to stop frequently to let the children and us run and stretch and, of course, use the toilets. But it was all part of the holiday.
One thing we would do is read novels to the children on holidays. Jim is a wonderful oral reader. On one trip he read the novel, Winnie the Pooh, while I drove. Joel and Becky were four at the time and they were spell bound. We also took books when they were teenagers and young adults. The thing is we, myself included, never wanted him to stop until the novel was done. We would make up stories together. Everyone would add their part to the plot and as they got older the plots thickened.
We would have a cooler of food and drinks that they could eat in the car. If you try this, make sure you pack food that isn't messy. For example, oranges in the car smell, need to be peeled and can have a lot of squirty, runny juice and mess. Apples, bananas, plums are easy. Yes, food meant that the car would need to be cleaned out when we got home but your expectations should be reasonable. Have wet clothes and a towel handy because you know they will be required. Also a bag for the garbage is always useful.
But, we never let our rules slip. ‘No still meant no’ and ‘we are leaving now’ meant just that.
Holidays are a special time for families to bond and make memories. You don't have to go far or do something elaborate to create fun and laughter. Just enjoy each other!