Summertime means amusement parks, beaches, trips to see family and more. It is always nice to have vacation to your family’s favorite destination to look forward to. However, no one loves the long hours spent in the car, to get to the fun! Being in the car for a really long time can be especially hard for children on the spectrum, and their families. Don’t fear, a road trip to your favorite vacation spot can still be a huge success. A few ways to combat the challenges of a summer road trip include great preparation, timing your trip just right, and making a comfortable environment in the car with your child’s favorite things.
Prepare Prepare Prepare
Having a plan is the first step to a successful and fun road trip with the kids. Begin talking about the trip and planning as soon as it is booked. This way, your child can have it on his radar early.
Actively involve the kids in the planning of your trip. For example, have a large calendar visible where your child can check off each day until departure. Maybe there are special landmarks they would like to see along the way. Show them what possibilities are available on the route, and let them choose a few. Even when looking up the best route to take, or choosing a fun place to stop and eat, let the kids be apart of the planning. Also, consider making a visual schedule so she can be familiar on the places included in your vacation and travel route.
Take shorter trips to build up to a longer road trip
Before taking the 7 hour trip to the water park, try to take a couple of shorter trips to help your child get used to extended travel in the car. This is a great way to get prepared for any possible challenges on the road. You will have a chance to see what your child responds well to, and not so well. The entire family will be happy you did a trial run of your trip!
Plan stops and play time along the route of trip
It is a good idea to break up the trip into segments. It gives everyone a chance to stretch out, walk and get fresh air. Create a schedule of planned stops for playtime, bathroom time, and sightseeing. This will give the child a clear idea of what is coming next. It makes things more predictable for him. If time starts to drag, the kids will have the next stop to long forward to. The stops can include things that match up to your child's interests. For example, if your child loves trains, stop at a historic train station. If they love plants and nature, find a beautiful garden or greenhouse to stop and explore.
Avoid Rush Hour Travel Times
To make the trip as smooth as possible, try to avoid traveling during rush hour traffic, in any leg of your trip. Being stopped in bumper to bumper traffic is going to bother everyone in the car, driver and passengers. If you happen to hit surprise traffic on road, this would be a great time to take a break in travel, until the traffic settles down.
Bring your child’s favorite toys and entertainment
Bring some of the comforts of home by packing their favorite small toys in the car. You can make special vacation bags for the kids with toys in them. Also, play some of the kids favorite DVDs and movies. This will entertain them, and help the time go by quicker. However, everyone does not have to be on their own device the entire time. Road trips are also a great opportunity to bring back playing games together such as old school “I Spy” and “Bingo”. Playing family games will encourage interaction, and create lasting memories.