Here are a few kid-tested, road-warrior strategies to prevent those backseat battles and "are we there yet?" blues.
Car trips are more than just a way to get from point "A" to point "B." They can build vacation memories kids will treasure. But like any trip, they take a little preparation and planning.
Tell Them the Time
Nobody wants to hear "are we there yet?" and "how much longer?" every ten minutes. But keep in mind that preschoolers haven't fully grasped the concept of time, so you need to give your child a frame of reference that she can understand.
When kids ask, you can say, "It'll take us about the same amount of time as your soccer practice lasts" or "We'll get there right after the sun sets."
Don't let one person do all the driving. Swapping driving (and parenting) duties with your partner not only kicks grown-up monotony, but it also perks up your little ones.
Before you leave, give some thought to when you'll be driving. Some families do all their driving at night, savoring the quiet of kids' snoozing in the darkened backseat. But others may find this tactic exhausting for the driver, who may arrive at the destination wiped out with the children raring to go.
Create a Cozy Ambience
Let your child wear slippers or socks in the car. Bring a stuffed animal, blanket, and small pillow (kids doze more readily if they have something soft to lean against).
Position a large pillow between two siblings to help avoid squabbling over space.
Add sunshades to rear side windows and encourage your child to wear sunglasses to avoid glare.
Stop and Stretch
Stop at a park, playground, or rest stop, and toss your child a Frisbee or a ball, or simply hand her a jump rope or bubbles.
Even a 10-minute stop-to-stretch-and-move will put everyone in better spirits.
Start a Sing-Along!
Bring adult songs, kid songs, and songs the whole family can enjoy together.
Stash a portable CD or tape player with headphones for when your child clamors to listen to Raffi for the fifth time in a row.