Tips and Tricks for a Relaxing Road Trip with Kids

Young kid sitting on top of an old car at sunset with hands in the air

Ahh, summer vacation. What could be better than the all-American, old-fashioned family road trip with kids?

Not much…until the whining starts.

Before you reach for the earplugs, try one of these fun solutions — suggested by the creative parents in our members-only Facebook Group — to keep your kids happy and you sane.

Road Trip Games

Games are a great way to include the whole family while painlessly passing the road trip with kids. Here are just a few of our favorite suggestions:

  • Name that Tune
  • Spot the State License Plate
  • Twenty Questions

Or, better yet, turn the tables around and put parents in the hot seat while teaching youngsters a bit about the country — have kids look at an atlas and quiz mommy and daddy on states and capitals.

Or if you’re crawling through a busy town, try Red light/Green light. To play, divide your car into teams and say, “If we make a light, we (green team) get a point and if we get stopped at the light, the red team scores.” This way everyone wins (gets points) and/or loses (hits red lights) and it’s a great way to prevent the whining about getting there and the potential road rage on my part.

Join Amy for a FREE CLASS

Road Trip Activities

When you’ve had enough road trip competition for one day, try your hand at some of these activities.

  • Audio books
  • Coloring books
  • Small Dry Erase Boards for letting writing or a game of pictionary
  • Dance Party — turn up the jams and let them get their sillies out in their car seats
  • Alluminum foil art competition — bring along a dollar-store roll of aluminum foil to keep the kids busy for hours. Little ones can wrap their sippy cups and books. Older ones can make sculptures and chains to hang across the car.
  • Pipe cleaners and post-it notes are also a great hit for littles. What crafty souvenirs can your kids create?
  • Final Road Trip Tips

    Just remember, a little control goes a long way towards keeping whiny kids at bay. Empower your kids by letting them help plan part of the trip: each child could pick an attraction to visit, or where the family will eat.

    And let kids have a say in such things as the music choices, snacks, or whether or not to take the “scenic” route. These small doses of power your kids experience will cut down on power struggles throughout your journey.

    If you need a little peace and quiet while you drive, try leaving at bedtime for longer rides. It’ll be seat belts on and lights out as your kids dream away the hours on the road.

    And if all else fails, the portable electronics can be a great distraction. But too many movies can turn kids into backseat couch potatoes, so be sure to set reasonable limits.

    Want to know the very best way to keep everyone happy on your next long road trip with kids? Don’t forget to set aside time each day for some one-on-one attention for each of your children.

    When kids get consistent positive attention, they are less likely to act out in negative ways, like throwing their flip-flops out the car window.

    Best of luck, my friend, we are wishing you all the best on your road tripping adventures

    Title Image: Yuganov Konstantin / Shutterstock https://www.shutterstock.com / photos

    About the Author

    Amy McCready
    Nationally recognized parenting expert Amy McCready is the Founder of Positive Parenting Solutions and the best selling author of The “Me, Me, Me” Epidemic - A Step-by-Step Guide to Raising Capable, Grateful Kids in an Over-Entitled World and If I Have to Tell You One More Time…The Revolutionary Program That Gets Your Kids to Listen Without Nagging, Reminding or Yelling. As a “recovering yeller” and a Certified Positive Discipline Instructor, Amy is a champion of positive parenting techniques for happier families and well-behaved kids. Amy is a TODAY Show contributor and has been featured on CBS This Morning, CNN, Fox & Friends, MSNBC, Rachael Ray, Steve Harvey & others. In her most important role, she is the proud mom of two amazing young men.