When will we be there?!????
I think this is the national anthem for a road trip! Do you agree?
Well I am here to help you minimize those phrases and get prepared to have an enjoyable and fun road trip with your children. It takes a little fore-thought and planning, but it can be done!
So... let's hit the road! 🚗
Today's post is all about VISUAL SUPPORTS.
For what?! … you may be asking. It is a long car ride and we are going from point A to point B.
But is that really true?
Are you going from point A to point B without any stops? What about gas? Or lunch? Or a bathroom break or two?
What can I use visuals for?
It doesn’t matter if your child is verbal or pre-verbal or if your child is 3 years old or 13 years old. Visuals can help increase understanding while decreasing frustration and anxiety. So even if your child isn’t saying with words, “How much longer?” their restlessness or behavior might be their way of asking that question.
What types of visuals should I use?
Maps are a great visual and can be in a variety of forms. Choose what type of map would be right for your child. It can be as simple as showing which states you are driving through.
We move the arrow ⬆ to show the progression we are making on our trip. In the picture above, you can see we started in Illinois, are currently heading through Indiana and getting close to Ohio - where we will stay overnight.
If you are a AAA travel member, you can stop in at one of their branches to pick up free maps or have them mailed to you. Rest stops are also a good place to get a paper map.
My favorite place for a map? Google Maps. You can print out exactly what you want. I love Google Maps!
Maps bring out the teacher side of me. 🤓 You can squeeze in lots of learning activities with maps: learn about states, cities, and cardinal directions to name a few!
Your child can color in the states as you drive over the state line, or put a dot on the map as you go through a city.
A visual schedule shows the sequence of events. It shows what will, or will not, happen. Again, hop onto Google and search for images for places you may be stopping at and then put them in order. Be sure to indicate if you will be getting back in the car after a stop. It might seem obvious to you, but it may not be for your child.
Last, but not least, don't forget a Social Story®️.
This is extremely effective when written and used correctly. It should be personalized, in first person, and written in a positive manner. The story explains what will happen, what to expect, and validate the child's feelings. So you may even write, "The car ride is SO long and sometimes I feel bored and want to get out of my seat. It's important to stay in my seat belt to stay safe. If I am bored, I can choose a different toy to play with or ask for a break. I might need to wait for a little while until we can stop for a break."
So, where will you be headed this summer? 😎
And check back next week for my blog on "Breaking the Boredom on a Road Trip" filled with tons of ideas to keep the mind and body occupied for hours.