Family Road Trip Survival, 101: Bring Music.

It’s road trip season! And anyone who has attempted a long-distance drive with children in the car knows that it can be difficult to keep everyone happy in such close quarters. Some parents will use on-board DVD players to keep kids happy. Some kids will entertain themselves with books or games. Some older children can bring their own headphones and listen to their own mp3 player. But, what about the kids who want to be entertained by you? We have one easy solution: bring music.

Every car these days has a stereo system. And, with a simple stereo system, you can solve a multitude of road trip difficulties. Pack a few CDs of both your and your child’s favorites and pull them out when things get hard. You’ll be thankful you brought them along!

Some ideas:

When you’re entering the “Are we there yet?” phase of the trip, pull out something interactive like the Martha Speaks read-a-long audio CD or one of your child’s favorite Thomas and Friends stories on CD. As they follow along in their book, the time will pass more quickly.

When it’s time for Mom and Dad to control the tunes, you can always count on some classic rock to satisfy most of the family. Bring your favorite Beatles album or homemade mix of hits and even your teenage daughter might take off her headphones to listen in.

After lunch, when bellies are full and everyone is happy, you can let the kids take the reins. Preschool and elementary school-aged kids might like singing along to their favorite songs from Yo Gabba Gabba!. For the whole family, try something from Dan Zanes. (Even parents can enjoy him!)

For naptime, consider bringing a classical guitar or strings CD to soothe your baby or toddler. Pop it in when you can tell he’s getting sleepy, tune down the rest of the car noise (stop chatting), and let it work its magic!

Whether you’re venturing out on your first family road trip, or are seasoned long-distance travel veterans, music is a surefire way to ease the stress, make the time go faster, and offer a painless ride for everyone! So, stock up before you leave home!