Thursday, March 19, 2009

Traveling with RAD

I'm taking Bear and Taz on a 3 hour car trip to visit my mom today. We will be gone for 3 days.

Traveling with 2 kids with RAD is one of our biggest challenges. My husband is staying home with the other kids as they have activities. Anyway, I thought I'd offer some tips we have found helpful for riding in the car as well as for visiting relatives.

Car: HEADPHONES. They are the best tool in our car tool box! When the kids were younger they had a lot of books and tapes (my kids are older). Now they listen to CDs. Playing the ABC game works well for us. You know, the old game where you look for an A on a sign and then find a B, until you get all the way through. Pack a snack for part way through. Of course, if you have room there is separation. We also have the little portable DVD players and they can watch their own movie if they have their headphones on. Some of these activities promote attachment. Those that involve headphones do not. Riding in the car is not always the best place to work on that but it can happen. Our kids often open up in the car. So if you can keep all but one busy with headphones and have one sitting near you to play a game you might have some quality conversation from them. I usually find they open up best if I a) am quiet b) tell a story from my childhood.

Relatives: Awww, triangulation! Set the rules from the beginning, if they need something they are to ask you , no one else. They will ask grandma or other relatives for things they know you will say no to anyway so be prepared. If grandma objects I gently say "The point is they were supposed to ask me and they didn't. They know this is something they are not allowed to do." When your children are small you may have relatives who do not understand the amount of structure. You can go prepared with handouts you print off of any number of websites listed to the right that give a brief description of what RAD is. They may just not understand. And that may just have to be ok. Maybe you can agree to disagree. And then there is the sweet, charming and endearing behavior given to others. This is the time to dig deep and be a grown up. Let it go. Don't offer sarcastic remarks about how they treat you when no one is looking. In fact, this may be a time when you can let them know you enjoy this behavior from them. When someones says "They are so sweet." Let them here you say "Thank you. I think so too." All of us love to hear people say good things about us.

Structure: Try to keep sleep/wake schedules as close to the same for them as you can. Take along board games if you are going to an older relatives house where there won't be things to do. I have sat in rooms full of people playing "Don't break the Ice." with my boys. Everyone else wanted to play too! Watch the food. I let them have the sweets and foods grandma prepares in moderation. I am also taking along some protein powder, rice milk and fruit. I will make protein shakes as snacks for them to balance things out some. Take your kids for walks if weather permits or go to the mall so they can move.

Traveling with children with RAD can be so challenging but it can be done! The extra effort is worth it.


Story of our Life said...

Safe travels!! Good luck w/your kiddos also. I know all to well the challenges of traveling in the car. RAD or NOT. Currently, it is the sensory kiddo that has 'issues' with traveling. Headphones have become a very good friend of ours.

Have a nice visit!!!

THANKS so much for your sweet, thoughtful and supportive email last night/this morning. I really do appreciate it. I have a few comments back just haven't had it in me to write back yet...will do later. Again, thanks.


Hannah said...

Wow. Great tips! Not just for RADical parents, but for all parents. YAY!!! :)

Brenda said...

Thanks ladies. I'm at my moms and having a great time! The car ride went well!