Saturday, May 24, 2014

Show and Tell Saturday: Road Trips with Kids

We received a really great email yesterday that I thought would be perfect for today's Show and Tell Saturday. fits the Road Trip theme! Here is what NaDell sent in:

My husband loves to drive, so a way to keep kids happy on road trips is essential!

I saw an idea on Pinterest when I first joined about a way to keep kids behaving on road trips (and because I was planning a drive with my kids I paid attention).  It was to have dollar bills attached to your visor for each child and then take one away when they misbehave.  I thought it wouldn't take long for my kids to lose all of their dollars and just be grumpy, so I put my own spin on it by giving our kids a quarter for every 15 minutes they were GOOD on our trip.  I wanted to recognize good behavior instead of bad behavior and it worked.  Sure it sounds like a lot of money when you look at 40 hours in the car per kid, but because of bathroom stops and food stops, it wasn't bad and they had to use the money they earned if they wanted any souvenirs or extra snacks (I had healthy apples and pretzels and water in the car).  

Basically, they paid for what we would have bought for them previously and they felt like they earned it.

The first year my husband brought all of his quarters he had in his coin jar and we had it in a bag between us.  When the kids earned their quarter, we'd put it in their small makeup bag.
We started this in 2012 when we drove from Washington to Utah to Colorado to Wyoming and then back to Washington in 11 days (spending three nights with siblings each stop).  
 When they spent their quarters, my husband used his debit card and we added the quarters back to our quarter bag to redistribute.  Our 18 month old yelled pretty much the whole trip, but the other three kids earned about $7 a day.  I'm pretty sure $21 a day is worth it for good behavior in the car!

For the next trip from Washington to Yellowstone, I made a paper chart and cut out little paper quarters and taped it on my dashboard with painter's tape adding quarters whenever they earned them.

This past February we drove from Washington to Disneyland (about 20 hours each way) and I improved my chart to have one for each day with the quarters printed on the chart and I used a washable marker to color them in when they were earned and crossed them off when they spent them.

They were all able to buy a decent souvenir at Disneyland and a toy when we got home.

We plan on driving from Washington to Ohio and back this summer which will be about 80 hours total and this is our plan to keep them behaving.  We only use this when we are driving more than five hours so they look forward to it.

We don't use any DVD players or video games in the car (not that we don't use them at home, but we want them to see where we're going and enjoy the different places we are and we are old-school cheap.)  I like to have them pick a few books and little toys to play with in the car and bring an inexpensive notebook with washable markers for them to color pictures with.


  1. This is the coolest thing ever! I will be using this in August when my family take a trip from Las Vegas to Coastal Oregon. That's 17 hours in the car one way. My kids will love this!

  2. Thank you so much for sharing this. I am glad it will help others. =)

  3. That is incredibly clever.

  4. Love it! Did u try using your color in quarter chart with a page protecting sheet and wet erase markers? They come in many awesome colors and stay very well on the pages until they get wet. Just a touch of water and a slight rub and u have a brand new chart!


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