Keeping Children Occupied During a Long Bus Or Train Ride

Keeping Children Occupied During a Long Bus Or Train Ride

Long rides aboard buses or trains with children can be especially challenging. Even the best behaved children will struggle with the monotony of being trapped in the same rail car or uncomfortable bus seat for hours on end. The simplest solution is to schedule the trip during the night, allowing the children to sleep away the trip; but that’s not always and an option. Parents who think ahead will be better prepared to deal with the situation.

Technology can provide one answer. The price of Portable DVD players has dropped considerably. Mini CD players and hand-held video games will provide at least a few hours of entertainment for the kids (and peace and quiet for the parents). However, for those children too young for the gadgets, and for all children when the gadgets get boring or the batteries die, make sure to have other things on hand.

A stack of books is always welcome on a long trip. Pack a variety of books appropriate to the ages of the children, from picture books for the youngest to magazines or novels for the oldest. An added advantage of books is that one book can occupy more than one child – all of the children can listen while an adult reads aloud, or an older child can read a book to a younger one.

Make sure to bring a collection of toys, too. Younger children can entertain themselves for quite a while with a stuffed toy to cuddle or a doll to chat with. Art supplies are one thing most parents don’t consider, but for a child who loves to draw, washable window markers and cling plastic stickers are the perfect tool to turn their window into a work of art.

Most importantly, don’t neglect the value of “quality time.” Just a pleasant conversation or a rousing chorus of “Ninety-Nine Bottles of Juice on the Wall” might be all that’s needed to turn a boring train ride into a memorable family vacation.

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