By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Ahh, the lure of the open road. Visions of road-tripping across the country, sightseeing, finding a great local diner--all the romantic images of driving Route 66 disappear in a hurry when your reality is shepherding the kids and a dog to your new home. Planning a drive that keeps everybody on an even keel is probably not at the top of your to-do list right now but take a few minutes to map out your travel strategy as well as your route--it's absolutely worth it.
If the moving company has packed and loaded everything, and a multi-day trip is standing between you and your new home, the dread of the drive is real. And it seems like the easiest thing to do is load up on USB chargers to ensure everybody is always occupied, and you're free to have some peace and quiet and NPR. That is the easy way, but who said life was supposed to be easy? Get some maps, games, coloring books, crayons, and load up your phone with road songs--this is a generation that's grown up on "Baby Shark" and needs to learn "John Jacob Jingle-heimer-whatever".
Planning Your Route
Get real paper maps for the kids and show them how to read the icons and pick out the rivers. Have them find fun things to do--"points of interest"--along the way and let everybody pick out one tourist trap along the way, or one each day you're on the road. If you're traveling with pets, this is the chance to get them out and moving some during the day.
Kids today. They're so wrapped up in Snapchat and YouTube they've missed the joys of car games. If you can't remember any, or you hated them as a kid and didn't pay attention, try these. All you need is your imagination for these old favorites. You and your spouse get to start all the games until there is complete buy-in.
- Name Game--name a name. The next person must come up with a name whose first letter is the last letter of your name--George--Ellen--Nathaniel. You can make your own rules regarding nicknames and diminutives, depending on your kids' ages and overall propensity for hand to hand combat. Proper names, places, cars--anything goes here.
- Punch Buggy--play this one while you can, since VW is stopping production on the Beetle. When you see one, you yell the color and punch buggy--"yellow punch buggy" and then--real fast--"no punch backs". The winner then gets to GENTLY poke siblings in the arm--with no retaliatory punch backs.
- Grandma Went to London--there are lots of names for this game, but basically, you start with "Grandma went to London and she packed ......" The next person says the same thing, and adds a second item, and so on. It's easier to go alphabetically so you can get past the third round.
- I Spy--easy enough, one rule. The thing you spy has to be in the car.
- My Cows--or billboards, or bridges. Pick the thing, and whoever sees it first gets the points. If you're going through a rural area and see actual livestock, make sure you count fast.
Put family-friendly, fun to sing songs on your device, and teach the kids the fun of the aforementioned John Jacob. Let them teach you songs they've learned, too--but one Baby Shark per trip. Or Mommy's going to London with an empty suitcase.
Long days in the car are tiring, and nobody wants to be constantly entertained. Listen to audiobooks--choose books you're all familiar with, so if somebody dozes off they don't miss anything. Nothing beats Harry Potter for road trip listening.
Don't be the mean parents and block all their technology but do try to limit it by offering other things to do. Too much screen time does make us all a little dialed out and grouchy, and this is not the time to encourage the grouchies. Soon enough, the professional movers will be unloading the truck and you'll be in the middle of unpacking your new home. The kids can retreat to their new rooms and never be seen again. Take this time to force some old-school entertainment on them--years from now, these will be fond memories.
Request a free quote