A Recipe for Smooth Road Trips with Kids
A couple of times a year, I drive the kids by myself to visit my parents.
It’s a 5-hour drive.
Did I mention that I go by myself?
It has gotten so much easier now that I don’t have to stop to breastfeed a baby. And, I’ll be honest, once we got the minivan with the built-in DVD player, it has pretty much been a piece of cake.
But this week, mid-way through our drive north, my DVD player stopped. My radio didn’t work. I had absolutely no way to entertain the kids.
Back in the pre-DVD player days, I used to pack bags full of toys for the car. I would pass out stickers and sing songs and get creative. But for the past two years, I haven’t packed a single car toy – just a giant stack of movies and snacks.
So when our DVD player stopped working, with more than 2 hours still left to drive, I was afraid that it was going to be the longest two hours of my life.
At one point, I found myself saying,
So help me God, don’t make me pull this car over!
And then I cried for the next 45 minutes because I have officially become my mother, as this statement used to come out of her mouth on a weekly basis when I was growing up.
And then I spent the rest of the trip trying to make the kids laugh and wishing for the good old days – you know – when there weren’t so many rules.
When I was a kid, it was common for my mom and great-grandmother (Nanny) to take my brother and I on roadtrip vacations to Florida and North Carolina when my dad had to work during the summers.
They had a “Road Trip Recipe” for kids that never ever failed.
Nanny used to pump my brother and I full of NyQuil so that we would sleep in the car.
I’m not talking about a sip here and there. I mean, she would set her watch, and when we were getting close to four hours, she would say,
“I think it’s time for the recipe!”
My mom would stop the car. They’d get the “recipe” out of the trunk, and then they would WAKE US UP to give us more.
God forbid they wait until it wore off enough for us to wake up on our own.
For the longest time I thought that Florida was just around the corner because I would fall asleep in the driveway and wake up in Florida (20 hours later).
What parenting “techniques” do you miss from the old days?