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Old 16th August 2010, 19:31   #1
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Thumbs up Preparing kids for long drives

Hello,

Kids are generally very active beings. And I have found that my 3 years old daughter, when she is not sleeping, starts feeling claustrophobic after about 1-2 hours of continuous drive. Hence I land up taking too many breaks.

I am opening this thread to discuss about different ways/techniques TBHPians use to prepare kids for long drives.

On my last trip to Ooty I tried building up the excitement about 2 days prior to the trip by explaining her what all we can do after reaching the destination, what we can see on the way during the drive etc. And on the day of travel she was all excited and I took slightly less number of breaks during the drive. But yes we adults have to play a active role to keep them engaged during the travel.

Please share your thoughts, innovative ideas on any issued related to preparing kids for long drives.

Thanks
vnk

Quote:
Originally Posted by dushmish View Post
I travel with my 2 daughters aged 6 and 10. We face a similar challenge as yours. My take and solution is as below:

It is a road trip. Enjoy the road.
No reading in the car.
No playing board games in the car.
No watching videos or playing video games in the car.

Having said this, what we do to keep engaged as a family is as follows:

We observe and talk about the change in vegetation as we cross states.
We observe and talk about the change in terrain and soil as we drive.
We talk about the farm activities we see.
We stop and step in the farms to interact with the farmers and see the crops closely. We have plucked sunflowers, waded through rice fields, plucked cotton pods, had self plucked corn on the cob (bhutta) in a farm and many more such things.
We talk about the various irrigation facilities and observe the ponds, lakes, rivulets, rivers, canals, etc.
We play word games (many available on net)
We play antakshari.
We tell stories about the areas we drive through. These are either history or political or culture.
We talk about the food habits of the people in the areas we drive through.
We talk about the material used for the construction of houses in villages and how it changes from one state to another.
We talk about the various businesses that flourish along the highway.
We observe the dresses folks wear along the highway.
We listen to some (very little) music. No iPods or personal music players.
We discuss the plan for the trip/drive.
Places to stay/eat/breaks.
We Carry 3 cameras. One canon point and shoot, one in my phone (Galaxy Grand) and one in my daughters' samsung tablet. We cick a lot of pictures. And encourage the girls to click pictures and rcord videos.

The GPS and maps keep us busy at times.
Yes we have tried to make a full flat bed on the rear seat. Works well in long drive.
We do not eat stuff like Lays, Kurkure, etc, No Pepsi/Coke during the drives.
We carry Chakli, banana chips, khakra, mathri, roasted chana, peanuts, dry fruits with us. Carry 3 circular boxes. Keep emptying the munchies in these boxes as they get over. At any given time kids will have 3 options to choose from. We buy fruits along the way. Carry Amul chhaas and lassi. A 20 litre Bisleri carboy with faucet in the boot. We avoid buying 1 litre bottles. Saves money and reduces plastic waste. Whenever the 20 litre jar gets over we exchange it for a new one. There are 4 bottles in the car, one for each member and 2 extras.

Most of the talking is done by my wife and I. The kids ask a lot of questions.
The deal is that it is a family road trip and therefore we have to be with each other and not with books, iPods, tablets, etc. Also if we are going by road, we want to learn about life along the road, else we would just take a flight.

To some it might seem a lot of restrictions. It works for us. As a family we try and learn new things on each trip. We also try and have new experiences along the way.

Hope this helps. Wish you a safe and enjoyable drive!

Cheers,
D

Last edited by GTO : 25th December 2014 at 14:21. Reason: Adding an excellent post by Dushmish :)
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:35   #2
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I have been driving around with my son since he was very young (< 6 months old), and generally had no problems with him as long as his needs were taken care of. We had no special breaks for him. All we used to carry on long journeys was tetrapak milk.
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Old 16th August 2010, 19:46   #3
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I did one trip so far with my Son (only me & him) when he was barely 2 for about 1500 Kms; I'd taken care of his needs & he did fine & enjoyed.
Preparation - almost nothing, other than taking some clothers for him & a bottle of water from home

When my daughter was around 5 months, we took her to Coorg & she was completely troublefree except that she wanted A/C to sleep; so had to turn ON the car A/C for sometime until she got deep sleep. Otherwise no issues at all. BTW, we didn't change any of our kids routine on eating or sleeping.
Preparation - diapers for daughter; a small plastic table & rubber sheet for bathing; Son - nothing

Last edited by aargee : 16th August 2010 at 19:48.
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Old 16th August 2010, 20:32   #4
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Kiddo up and running since 4 months. No issues as such. Keep the food handy (tetrapk milk, oats, fruits etc) and they are happy.
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Old 16th August 2010, 20:39   #5
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Did a lot of driving in the USA with my twins as they were growing up. Things are much more convenient in terms of availability of national brands and clean restrooms. We did however always carry sickness bags, a 12V liquid warmer (water for formula, milk etc) and plenty of crayons/playdough/coloring books.

In India, the first things that get packed are medicine kit, roll of bath tissue, hand santizers and sickness bags. We've found bread based snacks are good at absorbing all the liquid intake. This avoids the sloshing effect in the stomach which makes kids prone to throwing up - especially in the ghat regions.

Games like word building (7+ kids) or counting vehicles of specific brand/color are good means of passing time.

p.s. I am just the driver on these trips. Full marks to my better half in terms of the preparation!!
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Old 16th August 2010, 20:50   #6
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Good thread!

Well I too have similar things to share. I usually take care of the following:

- a few packets of flavoured milk/juices and biscuits
- bread, some peanut butter and or jam
- enough paper napkins, some trash/sickness bags
- a pillow, and sometimes a small sheet too
- a few toys, something to keep the kids busy
- a few CDs with their favourite music
- making sure that they have had regular trips to the toilet before the trip etc.
- sometimes we cook some lemon rice etc and carry them with us . Quite handy during the Hyd-Blr drives, as there are not many decent restaurants around.
- a big can of water too, yes. for non-drinking purposes
- 2-3 bottles of drinking water.

Did a lot of long drives with the three kids. ( The youngest will be 3 in Sept ), including one Hyd-Calicut drive without a night halt.

We do take some stretch breaks, and the kids enjoy it. We also give some preference to food stops that has something for the kids ( you know, slides etc ). That usually recharges them for the next leg.

Hope this was helpful!

Last edited by Bigzero : 16th August 2010 at 20:51.
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Old 16th August 2010, 20:59   #7
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I took my daughter on trips from when she was 2 months old. When she was 11 months we embarked on a 20 day 6000 kms road trip in India.
She's very active and needs to be kept engaged all the time. Now she's growing up, she sleeps only for 2 hours in the afternoon. So the challenges are getting bigger.
Food wise it's tetra pak milk, Ragi (mized in hot water in a flask), farex, home made idlies for the breakfast part on first day).

I ensure that all her toys travel with her. When she was small, I had a newspaper reading lamp set in my car for her sake so that she has some light. Then her favourite DVDs go with her in the portable dvd player.

She always sits in the car seat and needs to be taken out every 2 hours to let her run around. All her medicines are packed in the first aid box. I have a electric milk boiler (which boils milk in 5 seconds or so, 12v bottle warmer, nappies and disposal covers, baby bag and other paraphernalia packed.

Finally, babies need three things. Attention, Food and loads of running around during rest hours.
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Old 16th August 2010, 21:03   #8
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I have been travelling with my daughter since she was 4 months. now she is 8 years old.

one needs to understand the following

1. Children by nature does not want to get confined to one positoin, posture or one toy or one activity for long.

2. Children learn most of the things by observing the adults.


one thing we have been doing consistantly is

1. everything is pre-planned. the complete trip must be preplanned except for the views and scenarios we see, food we taste or activities we do.
As much as possible no surprises in terms of delays, breakdowns, accidents, held ups etc. This brings predictability to your trip.

2. Food and eating times are sacroscent, more so with the children. One must follow the eating times and what the children eat. initially we used to carry the same food as in home while on the travel as well viz. Lactogen --> cerelac --> milk --> rice+milk --> Daal+Rice --> sandwiches --> slowly exposed to outside food after the age of 5. Carry her/his regular cutlery as well.

3. Create excitement of travel. few days before prepare the child for the trip. tell her/him everything about the trip, what all of us are going to do, where we are going, how much time will it take, what she/he will be able to experience, how much fun it will be etc etc. My wife has been doing it in the initial years, later once it is being done by me, now my daughter herself enquiries about the details.

Your planning will help you to deliver on the promises made, which will make the kid look forward to the next trip and thus the interest gets built on.

4. Make the car her/his second home or home on the move. Ensure that you carry couple of toys, games, books, activity aids of the child with you in the vehicle. if you are a small & happy family (H + W + K) then make the rear seat her/his room. ensure that you carry her/his favourite a pillow + pull over and let him/her sleep when ever needed.

5. Keep the child engaged in conversation or activity during the travel. show her/him the things around, explain the things, play games, make the child sing the rhymes by turns, you also sing along. elder child can also play guessing games, alphabet games, antaksharies etc.

6. Never force the child to eat or sleep or be in one position for long. Children hate it and would turn up a rebel. try to cultivate the liking for these things slowly.

7. some times invite other families with kids for the joint drive. This will help the kid to remain engaged with her/his friends and busy in the activities.

8. play the favourite music of the child, let her/him see the favourite cartoons on the mobile phone/laptop if possible

9. change the seating positions of the senior child (5+ years) if possible after couple of hours, except for the driving position. if the child is going to be seated on the front seat, ensure that he/she wears seat belts.

10. Do not let the child eat fried stuff while on the move. Do not expose the child to smoke, dust etc, drive with A/c on.

11. Choose the time of the drive such that child spends considerable time in sleeping e.x. early morning starts say 5 AM..carry the child directly from the bed. let him/her sleep on the rear seat till 8 AM, he/she can brushup/change during the breakfast breaks, this way child is not deprived of sleep.

12. Invite grand parents to be part of the drive if possible. They are the best engagement / activity for the kids.

13. Elders should be the example. if elders crib about the journey or show irritation or boredom of the travel, express anger/anguish etc then kids would emulate for sure.

14. ensure food & water discipline during the travel. never allow the kid to fall sick during or after the trip. nobody wants to fall sick, and while doing an activity one falls sick, no one wants to do that activity again.

there could be more..

Last edited by StarVegabond : 16th August 2010 at 21:18.
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Old 17th August 2010, 09:25   #9
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I have been travelling with my son since he was 9 months old and till date had no hassles with him. Earlier he used to pester in stting front but these days he's more happy sitting at the back since he gets all of the rear seats for himself. I usually carry his favourite toys (2/4 wheelers mainly) and books. Fasten him with the rear seat belt and he plays for a while and slowly drifts to sleep if its a long drive.

My wife usually ensures of his dietary stuff, my son is one fussy kid when it comes to eating. Known brands of chocs, biscuits only but he is not averse to eating outside too.
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Old 17th August 2010, 11:03   #10
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Here is what i do for my daughter.

1. A comfortable Child Seat
2. Food/water/Fruits/snacks etc
3. Water
4. Coloring books and Activity things
5. A pendrive with full of Rhymes
6. A PSP (PlayStation Portable) loaded with full of Cartoons and Rhymes Videos

Breaks for diaper change and Food.

Mostly kids prefer to get attention, so my wife and the caretaker will be at the backseat always.
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Old 17th August 2010, 11:07   #11
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Some observations and tips.

1] Kids with age of 6 and 12, it is always comfortable for me and kids to start as early as 7 AM and not before.
2] Before starting, ensure that kids had done regular morning chores[ toilet etc].
3] I observed that within first 1/2 hour of drive, kids go to sleep whatever the time of drive may be.
4] After nap of 1 hour, when kids wake up, real trouble starts. One has to take break at this time so that kids will have food, stretch little bit. Plan your break such that the place have some space for kids to play. That will freshen them.
5] I always carry some snacks, biscuit, some packed juice like Frooty.
6] Normally, i avoid packed milk or milk based items while on drive. kids react to the unusual/new milk.

There are so many such small things so that we can make kids comfortable for short/long drives.
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Old 17th August 2010, 11:34   #12
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Ever since my son knew to read and write, he has been put on the job of writing log books on the move, observing road signages and other facilities and taking care of things such as refilling water bottles. When he was very young, I used to tell him to write essays about what he saw and did during the drives. He is kept entertained by interesting geographical info like rivers, roads, etc. So I guess with him there was never an idle moment.
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Old 17th August 2010, 11:34   #13
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We have a portable DVD player which we carry for long drives. And my son's favourite DVDs keep him interested and content in the backseat.
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Old 17th August 2010, 11:42   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Ever since my son knew to read and write, he has been put on the job of writing log books on the move, observing road signages and other facilities and taking care of things such as refilling water bottles. When he was very young, I used to tell him to write essays about what he saw and did during the drives. He is kept entertained by interesting geographical info like rivers, roads, etc. So I guess with him there was never an idle moment.
Now we know why HVK logs are the best !!
it appears Jr HVK is a major contributor to the HVK brand

i also started to follow this Essay Writing with my daughter, now a days taking pictures while on the move is the favourite activity.
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Old 17th August 2010, 12:07   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hvkumar View Post
Ever since my son knew to read and write, he has been put on the job of writing log books on the move, observing road signages and other facilities and taking care of things such as refilling water bottles. When he was very young, I used to tell him to write essays about what he saw and did during the drives. He is kept entertained by interesting geographical info like rivers, roads, etc. So I guess with him there was never an idle moment.
Wow!! I do the same thing. I started long drives when he was four years old in 2007. In my last trip to Rajasthan, I asked him to navigate, told him the intermediate towns/cities and asked him to look for signboards. Though I had GPS, told him he is my GPS and he was so excited to read the boards, tell me the exact kilometers. He is used to that task now. I should make him to write trip logs from now on.

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