Family road trips can be truly rewarding, but if you have multiple children in your family, then you have likely experienced what a logistics nightmare it can be to travel with large groups. It’s important to set guidelines ahead of time to avoid sibling fighting during your travels. Our team has compiled a few ideas to help your family prevent sibling fighting on a trip:
Lay Down The Ground Rules
Children perform best when boundaries are established ahead of time, so be sure to communicate your expectations for your children. If you’re panning to travel by car, then consider establishing a physical boundary as well. Special education teacher Ginny Osewalt recommends that parents define each child’s personal space by using a strip of masking tape or an old blanket. Then, explain that prized possessions and flailing body parts should remain within each child’s side of the dividing line.
Establish Consequences for Poor Behavior
Children have an innate desire to meet the expectations that are set before them. By communicating the consequences of misbehavior before you embark on your trip, your children won’t be surprised when penalties are assigned for their actions. Consequences may vary depending upon the child, but punishment should be age appropriate and enacted swiftly at the time of the incident. Consequences might include silent time (IE: no talking for five minutes) or removal of possessions for an established period of time (IE: a favorite toy/blanket).
Before you leave on your trip, pack a bag full of travel-ready snacks for your kids. Then, hand them out when you begin to sense tensions in the back seat have escalated. Try to catch this early, or else you run the risk of rewarding bad behavior. When selecting snacks to include on your trip, consider any food allergies among members of your group. If possible, avoid sugary snacks and opt for healthier choices like carrots or trail mix instead.
Follow Through with Penalties for Misbehavior
Once you have established consequences for misbehavior, it’s important that you follow through with the punishment you have discussed beforehand. Your children will likely test you to see whether or not you really mean what you say, so it’s important that you are firm with your expectations and consistent with the consequences associated for failure of each.
If you’re on a road trip with children, take breaks often to give everyone an opportunity to stretch their legs and use the restroom. This time will also allow for some space and fresh air, which could help influence behavior. Should tension in the backseat escalate while you’re driving, then calmly pull off the road. Turn off your engine and limit your comments. “I’ll just wait” or “I’ll drive when it’s safe” remind your children that misbehavior will not be tolerated.
What tips would you add to help prevent sibling fighting on your next trip? We would love to hear from you! Share what works best for your family in the comment section below.