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Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist and founding partner with The Heller Psychology Group LLC, which is a small private practice located in Bethesda, Maryland near Montgomery Mall. He specializes in working with children, adolescents, and their families. Dr. Heller conducts play, individual, and family psychotherapy for a variety... Read more

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Traveling with Kids By Car

Dr. Carey Heller: Clinical Psychologist and founding partner of The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

Dr. Carey Heller: Clinical Psychologist and founding partner of The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.

With the holiday season fast approaching, many families will be traveling with their children. With that comes great opportunities for bonding as well as possible annoyance in handling children who misbehave during long car rides.

Here are a few suggestions to improve the quality of a long car ride with children:

1) Identify potential issues that likely could occur (i.e, siblings fighting with each other, children complaining about choice of radio station). Plan solutions ahead of time to implement when these issues occur.

2) Have children listen to ipods, play video games, or use other electronic devices to keep them occupied.

3) Sing songs, play the license plate game (where you have to be the first one to name a license plate from a new state that you see), GHOST (for older children- where you take turns giving a letter and try to make the other person finish the word that is four or more letters), or other interactive games.

4) Especially for older children, use the time in the car to have in depth conversations. With most people’s busy schedules, car rides provide a rare opportunity to spend several hours with your whole family together. Obviously, it is best not to use the car ride to address topics of a sensitive nature (i.e., behavioral issues, significant academic difficulties), since children and adults alike could become upset and not have an ability to easily exit the conversation to calm down.

I hope these suggestions are useful. By planning ahead and having a variety of items to keep children occupied, it can make long car rides easier and more enjoyable.

In addition to regular blog updates, you can follow me through The Heller Psychology Group’s Social Media pages for daily postings of useful articles:

*Disclaimer: The previous information is intended as general guidance based on my professional opinion, does not constitute an established professional relationship,  and should not replace the recommendations of a psychologist or other licensed professional with whom you initiate or maintain a professional relationship*

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Carey Heller, Psy.D.

About Carey Heller, Psy.D.

Dr. Carey Heller is a licensed psychologist with The Heller Psychology Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. He works with children, adolescents, and young adults, providing psychological/psychoeducational evaluations and individual psychotherapy. Dr. Heller specializes in ADHD, executive functioning issues, and Autism Spectrum Disorder and is happy to answer questions and provide consultations for individuals who are considering pursuing treatment or an evaluation for their child, adolescent, or themselves. Dr. Heller can be reached directly at 301.385.2610 or For appointments, please call the office at (301) 385-2610 or email The Heller Psychology Group at with your contact information and availability for appointment times.


One Response to “Traveling with Kids By Car”

  1. Larry Merewitz
    On October 23, 2013 at 9:43 am responded with... #

    I don’t normally comment but this time I will. We have traveled with our Grandchildren now ages 9,11 but have been doing this since they were 2 and 4. We took a road trip through the Midwest and logged 2200 miles in the week. The I-pod and small cameras are perfect to keep them under happy during the days. They are great travelers anyway. I do have a suggestion that has worked for us also, especially for travelling with the under 5yr old age. If at all possible do the traveling overnight. We drove straight through to florida and they will slept the whole way for 8 hrs out of the 15 hrs and the driver and passenger can switch napping during the trip. All felt well the next day and were pretty well rested. As the food lion, lion says ,” that’s just my 2 cents”. and speak from alot of real life experience.

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