Saturday, October 3, 2009

Drug-free Road Tripping (Part 2)

Now we're cookin'! These are the kinds of discussions I like. Thank you for the great feedback on the last post about road trips -- and to those who submitted helpful tips to make family travel a bit less stressful and fully more enjoyable. And it seems I've struck a nerve with "anonymous".

For the record, let me make it clear that everything I state here is obviously my opinion -- take what you want and leave the rest. Those opinions may be...well...opinionated at times, but I have never claimed authority (or perfection) on anything. This is a forum to share ideas. After tens-of-thousands of miles of tears and tantrums, I have found what works for my traveling family. And, like all parents, I know that what works today may not work tomorrow. That's why I solicit other ideas. I need all the help I can get.

And I think most agree that it's best to utilize all possible strategies and tools before resorting to medicating the kids. I, for one, much prefer arguing and whining in the backseat from kids who are expressing emotions than passive indifference from a couple of slack-jawed zombies.

Here are a few of the other suggestions:

Lisa from Milwaukee:
"Don't forget audio books -- we've heard some great stories we wouldn't have read otherwise this way. Most public libraries have great selections."

Laura from Austin: "Yep--no drugging or vids! ...Bringing a potty chair (with bag liners) along when they were really young helped!"

Gwyneth from Atlanta: "Nuts are favorites for car food... And carschooling! The girls get so much work done in the car."

Andrea from St. Louis (I think):
"My mom used to bring little things for us that she held on to and let us open every hour or so, picture books, coloring pages, ball mazes, small surprises are something to look forward to and keep kids entertained."

My sister Ann chimed in, too, and reminded me that my mom used to slip us a half tablet of Dramamine on trips -- ostensibly to keep puking to a minimum (there were eight kids in the car -- so one small regurgitation could start a chain reaction), but she thinks it was to make us drowsy. So it goes -- I, too, was a child zombie.

And one last tip to calm a screaming baby -- Simulate soothing ocean surf with the radio.
Sounds strange, but I'm still amazed that this worked on Lyda for a while. Dial up some static on the car radio and, with the volume nob, turn up the static, then back down, then up, then down. Over and over. (It'll take a minute to get the right rhythm.) Before you know it, you're sitting on a virtual beach. It calmed her down and saved me several times when I thought I couldn't take it anymore.

Happy travels...Cheers!

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