Are We There Yet? Taming the Travel Tantrum: What to Say When Kids Get Restless

Jun 10, 2024by Learning Bugs

Are We There Yet? Taming the Travel Tantrum: What to Say When Kids Get Restless

Picture this: You're finally on that long-awaited family vacation. The scenery is beautiful, the anticipation is high, but then... the dreaded question pierces the peace: "Are we there yet?"

It's a travel torment all parents know too well. While the excitement of a trip can quickly turn into a chorus of "are we there yets," fear not! Here are some tips and tricks to navigate this common travel conundrum:

Arm Yourself with Knowledge:

  • Estimate Travel Time: Before you embark on your journey, be clear with your children about how long it will take to reach your destination. Be realistic – factor in traffic, rest stops, and potential delays.
  • Break Down the Journey: Divide the trip into manageable chunks. Explain that you'll be stopping for lunch or a break in X amount of time, giving them a sense of progress.

Distraction is Key:

  • Pack an Entertainment Arsenal: Stock up on travel games, books, activity pads, and coloring materials. Download some movies or audiobooks for offline access. A well-equipped entertainment arsenal can go a long way in combating boredom.
  • Embrace the "I Spy" Game: Turn the scenery into a game! Encourage your kids to play "I Spy" with landmarks, car colors, or license plates. This keeps them engaged and focused on the journey itself.
  • Sing Along Sessions: Create a family travel playlist with upbeat songs everyone enjoys. Sing alongs can turn a long drive into a fun, interactive experience.

Positive Reinforcement:

  • Reward Patience: Acknowledge their patience and good behavior. Maybe they get to choose a fun activity or snack at the next rest stop as a reward for staying entertained.
  • Turn it into a Game: "Are we there yet?" can be a game-changer! Instead of a whine, turn it into a competition. Whoever spots the most cows on the way gets bragging rights or a small reward.

Manage Expectations:

  • Set Boundaries: Explain that you'll answer the question periodically, but constant asking disrupts the driver's focus.
  • Offer Alternatives: "Are we there yet?" can be replaced with a pre-determined question like "How much longer until our next break?" This gives them information without creating an endless loop.

Embrace the Journey:

  • Point Out the Sights: Use travel time as an opportunity to connect. Point out interesting landmarks, discuss the scenery, or tell stories about your destination.
  • Make Memories: Play some travel bingo or create a scavenger hunt based on things they might see along the way. Capture photos of the journey itself, documenting the fun and anticipation.


Keeping kids entertained on a long trip takes patience and planning. By combining these tips with a positive attitude and a little flexibility, you can turn the "are we there yet?" chant into a fun family memory.

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