Having a family road trip is fun and exciting.
While you always look forward to seeing everyone in your family happy while you drive, unfortunately, long car rides can make your children anxious and irritable when they’ve been in the car for an extended period. If you want to keep your drive satisfying, you should consider some ways to keep your kids entertained on a long car trip.
So here are my top seven tips on how to survive the journey!
Snacks – take enough to feed an army!
Take lots of snacks – seriously, lots! I know you don’t believe me, but you’re gonna need ALOT!
Chocolate is a big no no if you like to keep your seats clean and I always try to avoid snacks such as sweets, no one wants hypo kids bouncing around the back on a 6 hour car ride!
Plain foods are your best friends – crackers are good for those who don’t travel well.
I always pack biscuits. My kids love biscuits!
I also pick crisps that aren’t too salty and things like apple slices and cucumber that are nice and refreshing. sandwiches for a pit stop, breadsticks, popcorn, non messy foods.
We travel with squash or water, nothing fizzy or milky that will cause upset tummies or have the kids bouncing off the roof…. also limit how much they drink unless you want 25 toilet breaks along the way … or even worse …
Bring an art kit
Keep in mind that children are creative they love to draw and make artistic stuff.
An art kit will help to make sure your kids don’t quickly get bored on a long journey.
You can easily make an art kit out of papers, crayons, foam shapes and stickers. All you need to do is pack them in a box and don’t forget to give them to your kids on the ride.
For my girls, I place an art/activity box in between their seats so that they can just help themselves along the way. I also include easier items, such as stickers, no glue, scratch art books, reading books, colouring books, puzzle books and any other small toys that will keep them occupied… tamagotchi style!
If you’re looking for an amazing travel activity book, then your in the right place!
You can now purchase my road trip activity pack from @bynaynay . It is jam packed with bright, colourful, activities, puzzles, riddles and so much more to keep those little ones entertained so that you can relax, enjoy the sights and sing along to your favourite song on the radio!
Take advantage of electronic gadgets!
Tablets and smart phones are amazing little things to have in the car on a long journey and you can download some fantastic educational yet fun apps these days too, from fun filled games to videos and music. I know they shouldn’t be glued to their screens all the time and to be fair, my kids hardly use their devices – but for a long trip in the car, I can easily make an exception.
Portable DVD players and ‘sky on the go’ are also a winner with us.
We pack a selection of kids movies, show the kids how to operate the remotes and how to change the discs, search for shows etc and they’re good to go!
Be flexible when planning your breaks
Stopping for breaks is essential with the kids. No body wants to be travelling in a wet seat after all that juice!
It’s worth calculating your miles and planning your stops. We try to stop after a certain amount of miles into our journey to stretch our legs, take a toilet break, grab a magazine etc.
Explaining when you will be stopping to your kids will help things to run smoothly.
If you have a child prone to motion sickness, like mine, ensure that they have breakfast and time for it to settle before travelling. A plain piece of toast is always a good option. Keep the car cool with fresh air flowing, this helps with the motion sickness. Also, a little handy thing to have in your handbag mama is a small bottle of peppermint essential oil. This is amaaazing at helping ease the motion sickness and any headaches. Just dab a little spot onto pulse areas, neck, wrists etc and let the essential oils do their thang! Trust me, it might sound like hocus pocus – but it’s just pure natural magic!
Yes, sometimes we resort to bribes (shock horror, I know, such bad parents!).
The key with a bribe is to use them sparingly. For our girls, if they’re starting to get niggly, annoyed with each other and generally just bored of sitting in the back, I do make a little promise of a treat at the end or during the trip, for being so well behaved in the car, such as a magazine or a sweet treat, because let’s face it, we all get bored on the road sometimes. Nobody enjoys sitting on the M5 for 6 hours in traffic. It’s just as boring and stressful for them as it is for you! – Explain to them how long you have left in the car before your arrival or pit stop – it’s just one more hour until we can get a McDonald’s for lunch or half an hour I until we get to go in the swimming pool when we arrive.
This usually does the trick!
Remember to stay calm. The kids will pick up on your stressed out energies and then it’s game over with whining parents and moaning kids!
So we’re all stuck in a bit of traffic for a few hours, weeks, it might feel like months.
There’s not a lot you can do about it I’m afraid. Suck it up!
Pass the time and play a game, as simple as eye spy, it may sound lame, but it’s an easy distraction! We like to play “two points” – basically it’s just questions such as “two points for the name of this song on the radio”, “two points if you can rearrange the letters on that license plate to make a word”. It’s simple, but it does the trick in our car!
The the reality is, kids don’t need to be entertained every second of your journey. Everyone benefits from some quiet time. Just staring out the window, listening to the radio or talking about what they can see outside can be entertaining enough.
Let them sleep
Kids can fall asleep easily in the car and a snooze can be a great way to let the miles fly by. Take blankets and pillows and let them know that they have ‘X’ amount of miles/hours left so it’s ok to take a nap … you don’t want them nodding off just as you arrive at your destination.
Just be sure to allow enough time to wake them up before arriving. Rousing a child from a deep sleep because “were there now” is tough! Believe me!
The most important thing to remember is that you are going to survive this long car ride with your kids!
And for the most of it, it will be fun!
(Maybe not every second, but the majority of it will be, and that’s a positive to focus on).
I know you don’t believe me — but you have to trust me,
you got this!
Have an amazing road trip!
nay nay x
If you have any travel tips of your own, please add them in the comments below.
I would love to hear from you!