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! Chocolate is a big no no if you like to keep your seats clean. Plain foods like 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. We travel with squash or water, nothing fizzy or milky that will upset tummies or have the kids bouncing off the roof.
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 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. I place our art/activity box in between their seats so that they can just help themselves along the way. I also include reading books, colouring books and any other small toys that will keep them occupied.
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 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 and they’re good to go!
Be flexible when planning your breaks
Stopping for breaks is essential with the kids. 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 and take a toilet break, explain when you will be stopping to your kids, this 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. We keep the car cool too, this helps with the motion sickness.
Yes, sometimes we resort to bribes (shock horror, i know!). The key with a bribe is to use them sparingly. For our girls, we will promise a little something at the end of the trip for being so well behaved in the car, such as a magazine or a sweet treat – this usually does the trick!
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. Just be sure to allow enough time to wake them up before arriving at your destination. Rousing a child from a deep sleep because “were there now” is tough! Believe me!