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Make long rides fun for small children

Long trips with kids can be stressful.

We spoke with parent and Furman child development professor Lorraine DeJong, who provided advice to not just survive the drive but also to enjoy it.

“The purpose of a family vacation is to spend time together, so spending the trip — especially the drive — glued a screen is a missed opportunity for togetherness,” DeJong said.

DeJong’s family passed driving time with family favorite alphabet games and songs.

Other car games DeJong suggested are stringing cereal on chenille stems (unlike beads, cereal can safely go in a child’s mouth) or making a homemade felt board out of an unused pizza box.

Stickers and markers are good diversions, but DeJong cautioned that crayons melt in hot cars.

“Some families will buy a few inexpensive gifts to be presented at designated places along the drive, and some even wrap the gifts with a box within a box,” DeJong said. “It makes (the kids) look forward to the next destination.”

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