DENVER (CBS4) – They’ll admit it.  One 8-year-old told CBS4 candidly, “Yeah,” when we asked if she’s been fussy on a long trip.  “I tend to whine a lot.”  We asked if her mom ever threatens to stop the car right here and let her out. “No, but my Dad does that.”

Another girl talks about disputes with her brother on a long ride.

“I say, ‘Patrick give that back,’ and he usually does but sometimes he doesn’t.”

If you’re a parent, chances are you’ve been there.  When you want ideas on keeping kids quiet, how about asking the head of the children’s section at the Denver Public Library?  Emily Dagg explains that some parents really prepare.

“Probably the most popular thing that most parents check out are recorded books,” Dagg said.

It’s a terrific idea that seems to work for many. Hook them up with the narration of the first Harry Potter book and you may not get them out of the car on a long trip.

The library also now offers the ability to download books to an iPod or MP3 player. That can be done directly through the library Web site with a library card.  While there are only a limited number of titles there, the number of books is expanding every week.

Dagg knows a long list of car games that can keep them going.

“There are a lot of traditional car games that kids have been playing for generations,” Dagg said. “Of course there’s the alphabet game where you look for alphabet letters on road signs and license plates. There are license plate games that kids can play.”

Dagg said the library has books packed full of games.

“Road trip treasure hunt. Parents can make a list of things to have the kids look for out the car window and get them a clipboard and just have them cross off the items as they see them on the trip,” she said.

That keeps them looking out the window, rather than staring at in-car DVD players that have become near standard equipment on any tricked-out, newer model min-van.

Anyone who has been a parent for a while has a few tricks of their own.

“Lots of movies and lots of stopping,” said Amber Lords, a mom from Weld County just completing a 10-day road trip to California. Her kids are a little older.

“Older, elementary aged kids can start learning to read maps and start learning a little bit of geography while you’re driving,” Dagg said.

But how do you settle disputes? One mother reported sitting in the back between her children. That allowed her husband to drive and kept the young ones from screeching for Mommy in the back.

A Dad from Arizona at the airport said, “Pretty much what we’ve done with the kids is we’ve kind of challenged them. Whenever we travel with them we say, ‘Listen, we’re going to go to a hotel up in Estes Park that is haunted.,”  Any trouble, and they lose something, like desert that night.

Stopping the car right here, isn’t condoned and can be downright dangerous. But how about fines? “Any more misbehavior and it will cost you a $1 young man.”

“We should start something like that,” 10-day road trip dad Jarred Lords said. “Then it’d pay for the vacation for me.”

— Written by Alan Gionet


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