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Road trips! They are a parent’s nightmare when the kids act up! “Mom, Dad, when will we be there? Are we there yet? If you don’t give me what I want I’ll scream! Can we go home, now?” Without extra effort on our part, our children quickly become little terrors on road trips. But is there a way to take the pain out of these trips?

Yes, there is! First, make your expectations clear. No matter what age your child is, let him know what you expect from him in a public setting. Ask him to put on his “company manners”. Explain that everyone should want to make a good impression on new people they meet. Help him to see that if he treats the other passengers well, they will do the same toward him.

Next, bring items along that will make your child more comfortable in public. It is quite possible that your plans aren’t going to be enjoyable for a child! Spending all day in a mall browsing books or visiting Aunt Mabel at the nursing home is probably not the most exciting kind of destination for your kids. Bring some snacks or books or quiet activities that will make the day special for the kids and speed time for them. Help to shape their environment so that they are secure and know that the day will have parts that they can enjoy, too.

Be prepared to stop every so often and let the kids stretch. Maybe there’s a playground by that gas stop or an ice cream parlor. Indulge them a little. It will make a world of difference in their attitude.

Let’s face it. It’s exhausting when your child acts up on a road trip! But with a little advance packing and calm conversation before you leave the house, you’ll find the time on the road flies by and the kids are no worse for the ride.