it's going to be a long weekend and i need some ideas ASAP!

Pamela - posted on 08/11/2011 ( 31 moms have responded )

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my hubbys dads family is having a family reunion this weekend and i have an 6-8hr car ride ahead of me stuck in a van with my hubby, father-in-law, brother-in-law and my 2 boy ages 15months 3yrs and my 4yr old niece and if that isn't bad enough i have a bad case of PMS to boot lol just to end up surrounded by people i don't know at a house i'ev never been to and trying to get my boy to sleep in a tent (yippy for me) so i was hoping for some ideas on how to keep the kids happy in the car and how to make the best out of my weekend with a family that i'ev heard are the complete opposites to me and my hubby

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Tyrae - posted on 08/11/2011

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oh jeez! That sounds like it's going to be one hell of a time! LOL. For in the car ride I would bring their favorite toys as well as maybe a couple of books for the adults to read to them. Also, stop every couple hours and let the kids out of the car to walk for even just 5-10 minutes. I went on a 4 hour trip with my daughter and she got extremely cranky from being in her carseat for 2 hours, so we had to get out and walk with her for a couple minutes. For sleeping in the tent, I recommend bringing special things that they always sleep with, their fav blanket and toy, anything to help them feel like they are at home. AND lastly bring something for you to read (if you like to) or something for you to do by yourself, in case you get overwhelmed and just need some time alone, go to a room/tent lay down and read or do whatever you brought.

Chasmodai - posted on 08/11/2011

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We just went through something similar. For the car, if you children have electronic educational toys like play laptops etc., use the AC adapter and a power converter that plugs into the cigarette lighter.. One of my boys played with his Leapster for hours.; Also, CDs of children's music are good, especially if everyone sings along. There are also children's stories on CD. Make sure each child has a pillow or stuffed animal for the car. Take plenty of potty breaks and bring snacks that aren't too messy..

There are simple car games, like spotting cars of a certain color, spotting letters of the alphabet on signs and license plates, counting cows or train cars.

For the tent, you will need flashlights. Make sure there are plenty of pillows. We always use an air mattress which makes it extra comfy. Set the tent up early, before dusk, so there is time to fix it up nice. Roll out the sleeping bags, lay out the pillows, and tuck in the stuffed animals.

You may need to think ahead about what you might do when the kids quibble or get cranky. Check the library for topical books: There is "The Berenstain Bears and the Too Much Car Trip", ."My Car Trip" by Sindy McKay, and "Old Fashioned Children's Games" by Sharon O'Bryan

One fun idea is to document the entire trip with a camera. Take lots of pictures every step of the way. When you get back home you can make a slideshow of the entire trip. People love getting their pictures taken and many kids tend to behave better when they know they are being photographed. Also, the picture taking will help keep everyone busy. Go ahead and take pictures of the kids helping to load the car. Snap pics of them in their car seats, busy coloring, and running around in the grass at the rest stops. Take pictures of Welcome signs at town borders, and pics of the gathering, pitching the tent, and sleeping in the tent. We take pictures of the more memorable foods before we eat it. I even take pictures of mine while they are cranky Believe it or not, they love those pictures years later, and my husband and I think that when we photograph them while they are smiling and while they are cranky, we show them we love them no matter what.. Recently for an 11- day trip we took 300 pictures. The kids couldn't wait to relive the entire adventure by watching the slide show when we got home.

Chasmodai - posted on 08/12/2011

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Sherry, we accomplished a 14 hour car ride without a DVD player. I just didn't want anyone who can't afford one to be discouraged. I think our preference would be to do without. To each their own!

Sherry - posted on 08/12/2011

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A DVD player is a MUST for young children on a long car trip as well as for the tent situation. I agree about frequent stops, but also try to leave at night or early morning when the children will sleep and make one stop be a breakfast one. You will be surprised how much faster and more peaceful a long ride will be! Don't forget battery powered lanterns, snacks and BUG spray for the tent!

Pamela - posted on 08/12/2011

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Try & put on a happy face, think of the positives... Either way you ARE going on this trip so make the best of it. Bring lots of snacks, DVD player or iPhone w/ cartoons for the kids & let your hubby bond with his family, maybe knowing them better you'll learn something new about him. Going in w/ a bad attitude will assure a bad time. You're not marrying these other people, so appreciate the differences & take some pictures, it might be a while before you see them again. Good luck, I hope you're surprised & end up having a great time.

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31 Comments

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Robin - posted on 08/14/2011

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oh i forgot i took the baby's playpen with me and set it up inside the tent..lots of comfy blankets for padding and she "slept like a baby"...pardon the pun...lol

Michelle - posted on 08/14/2011

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There is a car bingo game you can find at most toy shops for the older ones. Take plenty of snacks and water. Forewarn the adults in your van that there will HAVE to be stops for the bathroom along the way so that no one can complain. Do the little ones have favorite picture books that can be brought to look at? As for tenting, make it an adventure. Bring favorite pilows/ stuffed animals/ blankies. Flashlights!! (They have kid friendly ones at stores like Target.) Don't let kids eat too much sugar (like Smores) right before bed--between that and the adventure and car ride they may not sleep. Be prepared to maybe sleep with them--we've unzipped bags all the way and used them as matress and blanket for more room....Pack some of YOUR favorite snacks/treats/drinks and books for you to look forward to and enjoy. And a "go-with-the-flow" attitude. :)

Mary Louise - posted on 08/13/2011

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Bring their favorite toys with you and sing silly songs which most children love.

Robin - posted on 08/13/2011

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get a dvd machine and put in some movies...that will keep them occupied...stop at different places and let them stretch their legs and you as well....when there im sure you should be able to get your son to sleep and then place him in the tent with you...enjoy meeting everyone even if you do not know them...you may be pleasantly surprised how much you do have in common with them...and the pms..it will pass...good luck...

DeeDee - posted on 08/13/2011

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when you mentioned the PMSing that did it and i have no ideas for you but i do feel for you try to have a good trip

Jen - posted on 08/12/2011

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for the older kids portable dvd player the 15 month old you r going to have to make more stops than usual.

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i don't know about the family, but with the boys play a car game, like looking for animals, or signs on the road. "who can see a sheep/cow" etc

Sandy - posted on 08/12/2011

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Any trip over 4 hours we would drive at night while they sleep...never traveled day time.

Alexandra - posted on 08/12/2011

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books, dvds, toys, snacks in the car. During the weekend, socializing some and taking care of the kids too. There will be no time for anything else!

Carol - posted on 08/12/2011

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We just got back from a long car ride. We all had a fantastic time playing License Plate Bingo. My kids, my mom & my husband all joined in. We got home 2 days ago & we're still looking out for out of state plates. Here's the link I used: http://print-bingo.com/ You can get everyone involved. I printed four cards per page, perfect size (I also keep a baggy of crayons in the car)

Nelly - posted on 08/12/2011

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one notebook, and crayons per kid works wonders in the car. each can draw whatever and make a final contast on who made the most colorful this or the best that..prizes with ribbons, starts or a little treat like cookies. for the 3yr and 4 yr, try playing with play doh they will kill a lot of time with this. bring little stuffed animals , small pillows, blankets for naps. bring finger food, fruits, snacks...they tend to be hungry every 2 hours when they get bored. it is a good time to teach them a few songs that all can sing in the car. Short story telling, and if you can get a book of kids' jokes. My kids love to read Discovery Kid magazine that has funny jokes but also games, pictures and curious stufff.

Sherry - posted on 08/12/2011

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A DVD player is a MUST for young children on a long car trip as well as for the tent situation. I agree about frequent stops, but also try to leave at night or early morning when the children will sleep and make one stop be a breakfast one. You will be surprised how much faster and more peaceful a long ride will be! Don't forget battery powered lanterns, snacks and BUG spray for the tent!

Chasmodai - posted on 08/12/2011

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Yes, I second the comment about irreplaceable toys. We had a rule - the electronic toys did not leave the car. They were only for the car trip - not the tent, not the house we were visiting. We've left things at relative's homes before, and it puts our hosts out to ask them to mail things back to us.

Anna - posted on 08/12/2011

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Hi Pamela , you have already worked yourself into the mindset that it is all going to be horrendous from being to end !! Please just chill a little and remind yourself and the boys that it is a great adventure and a chance to see family .I took my twins camping at bout 14mths old ,thought it would be awful and scary but we had a ball !! As other peeps have said just make sure you take comfy bedding ,fav teddies etc a football blah..and defo a good book or two cos you might get an hour or so off with all those relatives who will enjoy spending some time with your children (I hope :) ) Worst case scenario , it wont be forever and next time one of you can be highly contagious so you cant go on the road trip !! Good Luck

Christy - posted on 08/12/2011

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Just remember, anything that you bring that is a "favorite, can't live without" thing, take extra care. We used to camp a lot when our kids were little and had a pop up rain storm where we had to just throw everything in the suv. We lost a Game Boy and it was the worst thing that ever happened to our son until we came home and could buy another one, and at least that was something that was replaceable - if it is a toy that you can't find anymore, it's hard to get over losing that. My neice lost her silky blankie and they could never find another one. My sister-in-law ended up giving her a silky nightie and that seemed to make it better, but it just adds drama to the trip.

Michelle - posted on 08/12/2011

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With any luck they will sleep as much as possible, take plenty of books, colouring bits & pack of cards. As for his family.... it's only a few days, grin & bear it, be yourselves & dont try to be different just to fit in. It will be over before you know it & probably not as bad as you think. Good luck!

BethAnn - posted on 08/12/2011

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Another great idea for the car ride is lots of dollar store new toys or quiet things-, colouring new books , little puzzle games little cars..HAve a whole bag ready and when ever they start to fuss tell them after so many minutes of quiet time they can pick something from the treasure chest!!!
Good luck with the tent, I have never tented with my girls..I would bring as much familiar things for them as possible... My kids also always have a lullabye cd playing quietly as they fall asleep. THis may help drown out outside noise...A battery operated cd player..

Soraya - posted on 08/12/2011

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lol, try a day long flight from South Africa to Malaysia, then Malaysia to New Zealand. with my mother-in-law, 66 yo and 3 yo sons and 8 month old twins. i'm planning on takig tranquilizers!

Keri - posted on 08/11/2011

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Bring car-friendly games and toys, as well as the CDs the kids like. Dress them in cool, loose-fitting clothes. SNACKS AND DRINKS! Also: Kids LOVE tents! My son didn't know what a tent was until we went to a camp out in his friend's back yard. After some initial investigation, he realized it was a pretty cool thing and wanted to go in and out and in and out and in and...well, you get it.

Kimberly - posted on 08/11/2011

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Pack a frisbee and an inflatable beach ball for stops on the car ride. Blow up the beach ball for kids to toss/kick around. Helps them get out some energy when you stop for gas and potty breaks.

Heather - posted on 08/11/2011

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DVD player or laptop in the car works great. Try to schedule when you leave around their nap or drive at night, than they will sleep most of it. I travel 6 hours each way to visit family. My little guy (21mths) just need several stops to run around and get that energy out.
Your kids will love the tent, it will be an adventure for them. Don't try to force naps. I've learned that when we are traveling just let them run and play and they will go to bed early.

DESERAY - posted on 08/11/2011

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The best thing I have ever had for my kids for long car rides besides snacks was the headrest dvd moniters!

Pamela - posted on 08/11/2011

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lol Oh all the fun things that come with being a women and a mother just more prof that if there is a god hes a men lol

Isobel - posted on 08/11/2011

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yeah, packing for a road trip with kids is BIG fun! Also bring a cooler full of snacks and drinks...if you can get a portable DVD player they are very helpful as are video games, colouring books making pictures out of the clouds and counting blue cars ;)

I'm leaving tomorrow for a 10 hour trip on the heaviest day of my period...beat you there ;P

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