We’re leaving soon for a few days on Martha’s Vineyard. We’ll meet the Virginia Jennings (Matt’s parents) in Edgartown and spend a weekend enjoying one of the most beautiful places in New England. Can’t wait.
Now, Matt thinks we’re lucky that John is a good little traveler. I think Matt’s lucky that I prepare for travel like I’m going to war.
Trips, whether by plane or by car, can be stressful for everyone, both kids and adults. We’re all stuck in a teeny space, strapped in like we’re being punished for something. We have very different ideas about what to look at, what to listen to, what to eat, and when to stop. You can’t blame anyone for having a short fuse. My mission: to make sure that at least John is happy and entertained and ready to pass the time. It sure makes the trip easier for the grown ups in the car as well. Here’s what I try:
- Since he was two, I’ve made what we call “A Project” for every trip. They’re big binders full of quiet things to do (emphasis on the quiet part). Stickers (see above), photos of friends and family to look at, pictures to cut out of magazines, maps of where we’re going, reminders of what we’ll do when we get there. Heck, just a role of tape is at least a half an hour of fun. Lately we’ve added worksheets — mazes, connect the dots, writing practice, etc. He looks forward to the Projects and waits patiently until we’re on our way before diving in.
- A later addition to the travel routine is the much-loved snack box. Like me, John loves a good snack. Or even better, seven consecutive snacks. What I don’t love is to be turned around backwards doling out crackers for hours at a time. So I fill a small box with small snacks. A few crackers in a baggie, a handful of blueberries, maybe a treat or two. The box rides in back with him, and when it’s time for a snack, he can pick something out on his own. I think he likes being in charge of the snack box just as much as the actual snacks.
- Books on CD! Completely underrated! We just tried this for the first time during our many road trips for Middlebury basketball, and I’m amazed at how long he’ll listen. We all really enjoyed Charlotte’s Web (read by E.B. White!) and the Dr. Seuss collections were pretty funny as well. That’s a solid hour and a half of quiet and family fun.
- And when every bit of patience and energy is just worn right out: I’ve got Curious George episodes on my phone. And when that runs out: Angry Birds.
Honestly, is all this overkill? Probably so. We may get home having only gotten through half of the food and fun that will be aboard when we leave. But it’s better to have too much than too little, right? We’ve got a four or five hour drive to Wood’s Hole next week, and I’m ready. So ready.