Polk Moms

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We will be traveling in the family van with three kids this summer and were wondering if it's a good idea to have them get out and stretch every couple of hours. I know this sounds simple, but one is in a wheelchair but she still likes to get out of the van as often as possible. My husband says every four to five hours is good enough but complains when the kids get restless.

We always get a couple of movies for the kids on DVD. For whatever reason, they enjoy watching new movies over and over, which can entertain them for several hours. After around two hours, we pull over and let everyone stretch. Our kids are fairly young and really enjoy getting out of the car. Your child in the wheelchair will also get a kick out of watching siblings run around playing a game of tag or just chasing each other for no reason. - Trisha K. in Memphis, TN

FROM JODIE:

The best way to make traveling with kids a little easier is to have a specific plan that is highly doable, but also includes some leeway for unexpected happenings. Depending on the weather, it is a very good idea to stop and let everyone get out, look around, stretch, use the bathroom, eat a snack and/or let the kids run around. For your child in the wheelchair, getting out of course is a little more work, but like you stated, she enjoys doing it just as much as the other kids. It is also a good time to serve maybe some frozen snacks you have kept in a cooler. It's less messy to eat outside and can easily be wiped up if there's any dripping. Restricting kids to the inside of an automobile for four or five hours is asking for complaints and potential mishaps. Since you don't mention the ages of the children, I'm not sure what to recommend as far as entertainment, but this is very much a large and important part of your overall plan. Instead of trying to please everyone, it's best to take their ages and personalities into consideration to perhaps come up with various activities that everyone can enjoy, as well as snacks and drinks, games and music. There are lots of travel-size versions of board games kids love that have magnetic pieces and parts to help to keep them on the board, as opposed to loose pieces that seem to always spill or get lost. Digital games are also available. If you're looking to stay on a budget, check out garage sales or secondhand stores for ones that your family likes. Maybe consider getting other things to keep them entertained that you normally don't buy, like different kinds of music, books, toys, etc.

CAN YOU HELP?

We just got our school supply list for this year for our three kids. There are two grades between all of them, so hand-me-down school supplies are not going to work this year. The oldest is going into high school and the prices on some of this stuff is crazy. The youngest goes into fifth grade and the middle will be in seventh. Any tips on saving money in a situation like this?

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