Every parent will admit that when it comes to traveling, one of the biggest distractions to the driver is the child in the backseat. It’s not that kids purposefully make the trip unsafe, it’s just that they are kids and tend to get bored easily. In order to make your next getaway more successful and less prone to distracted driving and a possible accident, plan for your children’s entertainment before you leave your Saint Petersburg home. Avoiding auto accidents is the goal of everyone and not having to spend your summer fun time meeting with a personal injury attorney to settle a claim is well worth the extra time and effort spent planning.
Conversation Starters. If you want time to go by quickly and you want your kids to be entertained the whole way, the very best idea is to encourage conversation. Please do keep in mind that it is better for the driver to minimize his or her contributions to avoid distracted driving, so focus needs to stay squarely on the road. With that said, however, asking the right questions can keep your kids talking for a long time. The best conversation starters are questions. They could be silly, nonsensical topics:
- If you were a monster, what would you look like and what powers would you have?
- If you could have any pet in the world, what would it be and what would you feed it?
- If you had to prepare the worst meal in the world, what would you put in it?
Or, they could be more meaningful questions:
- What do you want to be when you grow up? Why?
- If you were being paid to do a job right now, what would you spend your money on?
- When you grow up will you get married and have kids? How old will you be when you do?
Music is a Must. Just as adults like to turn on the tunes while they drive, kids like to listen to music while they ride. Don’t be a radio hog in the car. Take turns choosing the music that everyone likes to listen to. Sing along to your favorite songs. Encourage the kids to dance in their seats or sing in their craziest voices (but not so loudly that it becomes a distraction).
Road Stop Seat Switches. Make the most of your stops by having kids switch seats. It may sound silly, but the slight change of scenery and layout can be just enough to keep kids occupied and keep you from distracted driving. Consider having different “stations” at each seat for younger kids. In other words, maybe one seat has a lap table and craft supplies, another has a bag full of action figures and dolls, and another has a bag of books.
Park and Play. If you are going on a long road trip that will take you hours from your St. Petersburg home, then be sure to plan at least one extended stop. Plan a short, but fun activity for the family. It could be a short hike through a local state park, a picnic, swinging and sliding at a playground, or some other adventure that you know your family will love. It is wise to choose something that gets everyone moving.
Pack Like a Professional. The most important part of any road trip is the packing and preparation. Be sure that you pack wisely. For instance, be sure that the things you will need during the ride are within easy reach, whereas items that won’t be needed until you arrive can be placed in the trunk so they don’t cramp those in the backseat. Also, bringing the iPad is great, but it won’t be wonderful for long if you forget the charger. Be sure electronic devices are charged, ready, and the cords are neatly packed. Bring a bag of entertainment and snacks for the kids. Books, coloring books, crayons or washable markers, crafting supplies, action figures, dolls, cars, electronics, granola bars, bottles of water, apples, and more can be easily brought along to keep the little ones, happy, healthy, and properly occupied.