Are they Here Yet Mommy – Do Road Trips Drive you Nuts

Whoever said kids could be annoying, didn’t know the half of it. Kids ARE annoying, and with each and every birthday they tend to get more so. Most parents cannot wait until their child learns to talk. But be warned, there will come a day when you will wish they never learned, and that for just a moment – you could go back to those still days of babbles and smiles.

The trait of children to drive you crazy is no more pronounced then when your children are waiting for something. For instance, if you have planned a birthday party or a play date – or have family coming to visit – your children will constantly be chanting, “Are they here yet?” You’re trying to get the house picked up in a hurry, making sure there is no dirty underwear in the couch cushions and your kids are following you around sounding like a broken record, “Are they here yet?” At some point, you may wonder if your child is really that bright because if THEY WERE HERE….they would certainly know it. No car has pulled up. The dogs aren’t barking. No knock at the door. No doorbell. And all the kid can say is “Are they here yet?”

This scenario also plays out any and every time you get in the car to go somewhere with your children. The movie “Are we there yet,” got its name for good reason. You get the car packed, fill up the gas tank and before you even get on the interstate the kids are wanting to know if they are there (wherever there may be) yet? Ummm, no. You are still on your street, or in your town – and the kids think somehow magically your car transformed into the Magic school bus and lifted them to Disney World in a blink of an eye. Or got them to Grandma’s in 5 minutes rather than 5 hours. And with each passing hour the “Are we there yet,” gets more and more annoying. So much so, that you reconsider ever leaving home with the kids again. Or look at the ravine as a great alternative to being pecked to death by the kids.

Obviously, kids have a hard time withholding their excitement for things. They also do not tend to have very much patience for waiting on things. Kids are self oriented, which means that at any given moment they can think of nothing else but what they want or what they need. And when this innate selfishness is combined with impatience, you have a recipe for parental stress, regardless of the circumstances. Is there anything you can do?

Experts say there is. The first step in curbing a kid’s impatience is to set up real expectations. Just because you start preparing for guests several hours in advance doesn’t mean that the kids have to. For young children, you can do very real things such as set a timer or an alarm clock which will alert the kids to the when the time has drawn near for their friends or family to arrive, or for when its time to get ready to go to the birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese. You should also give them something to do so they won’t be inclined to spend all of their time annoying the teetotal crap out of you. If you have family coming over, then have them work on decorations in a secluded part of the home. Or have them sit by the window coloring placemats so they can be the first one to arrive. The chores and to-do list, when shared with the kids will definitely keep their mind of the clock a little bit. They will still be impatient, but less so.

The same is true for trips in the car. With all the inventions today, parents can keep kids busy in the car for hours. If you expect the children to sit patiently the entire drive, then you better leave in the middle of the night where your child will be likely to sleep. Bring movies, video games, and look for some interesting car games you can play while you are on the road. The license plate game was invented for a reason! The busier your kids are, the less they will irritate you. If they are constantly asking you if they are there yet – then try to be creative and make the trip fun for them.

Remember that it is your responsibility as a parent to teach children patience. Patience is not something born into the human psyche. It is very common for parents to simply over react and yell at the kiddos because they are so exasperated with the questions. But try not to do so, because you end up deflating their excitement and you will be left feeling guilty.

Also, make sure that you talk about time with your kids. Kids don’t really have an understanding for how long 6 hours are. So if you are on a road trip, or have something going on in 6 hours – make sure you give them an example of just how long that is. Giving them a watch or a timer reduces the need for them to ask you the same old annoying question over and over again, and helps them have a sense of control of the situation.

Also, remember that their impatience and excitement over something can lead to a melt down, especially if you give in to frustration. The calmer you are the calmer your kid is going to be and the less annoying they will be as well. And, remember that this too shall pass. Once the guests arrive or you land at your destination – the Are we there yet/Are they here yet chorus will come to a screeching halt. (Hallelujah)



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