This has got to be THE most annoying question EVER from a kid and all kids do it and they do it a lot. It drives parents crazy which is the last thing you want to be while you’re behind the wheel on a long stretch of highway with precious cargo in the back.
One of our CoFounders, Libryia Jones, claims that her mom is a child whisperer. Her mother has always had a knack for getting even the most unruly children to behave well and this particular annoying child habit was one of those things she was able to nip in the bud super early since she and her family took road trips quite often.
There are three strategies you can use to help nip this one in the bud and retain at least SOME of your sanity during your road trips with your kids.
1. Set the rule before you embark on your trip
Setting expectations with children is pretty important. Letting them know the rules up front makes it much easier to enforce them. Sit the kids down before you load up in the car and give them ground rules for their trip and one of those ground rules should be “Do NOT ask are we there yet?”.
Note that as you’re setting ground rules, it’s also a good idea to set some consequences for breaking those ground rules. It could be something as small as revoking some of their screen time or denying them a sugary snack but a consequence makes it easier to take the rule seriously.
2. Tell them exactly what time you expect to arrive
Let the kids know up front what time you are expected to arrive at your destination. Even if that destination is a stop-over for the night on your cross country route. If you’ve got a young school age child, this is a good opportunity for them to practice telling time. Maybe even get them a watch, they likely have an electronic device with a clock on it so they can check it against that and if they ask you “are we there yet” you can ask them “Is it 5:30pm yet?” and let them answer.
You can also help them set a timer on their devices so they get a countdown of the time they are supposed to arrive or, depending on their age and understanding of the apps, let them put in the route in the gps on their device so they can follow along. Empower them with information so they don’t have to ask you for it!
3. Turn it into a learning opportunity
This was the tactic Libryia’s mom used and it worked. She, her brothers, and her cousins who often took road trips with them stopped asking “are we there yet” because every single time they asked, her mother would turn it into a math problem. It would go like this:
Kid: Mommiiiiieeeee are we there yet?
Mom: Well, that sign says we have 120 miles to go, we are driving 60mph and it’s 2:00pm, you tell me what time we will get there.
Actually, Libryia remembers that she and her older brother LOVED math problems and really enjoyed working out what time they should arrive and checking to see if they were right once the car finally pulled into their destination. It became a game for them. She too used this on her daughter once she was old enough to start working out word problems as well. This is a great one if you have children who have started doing multi-step word problems in school.
You are now armed with some secret weapons to make being in an enclosed vehicle with children for hours at a time much more enjoyable for you. That’s what we’re here for, to make your life better!
Were these tips helpful? Do you have any other tips/tricks to keep kids from asking “are we there yet?”