Traveling long distance in the car with the kids can be stressful and daunting, but it doesn’t need to be. Long journeys are very doable and can be really fun; you can even think of it as part of the holiday rather than a chore you have to do before you get to your destination. Have a look at these entertainment ideas and practical advice to help you plan so that getting there really is half the fun and your holiday can begin before you even get off your drive.
Talk About The Trip
In the few weeks before you go, keep talking about the trip. One to get everyone excited and enthused for it but also to explain how long the journey is going to be. Get your kids prepared for the trip to try and limit the number of times they ask “are we there yet?” Try and explain things that you’re going to pass on the way or prepare them for all the games you’re going to play on the journey. This will help when it comes to the actual trip as they will get a sense of how long they will be in the car for, how many films they might need to watch or how many times they might have to play I Spy.
What To Pack
Packing doesn’t have to be overwhelming or a huge job. The first thing to do is to make a list of all the things you will need. Start by going day by day and write down each item you will need from the moment you arrive to going to bed, to getting up the next morning. What plans do you have while you’re there? How many outfits will you need? Will you need wellies or waterproofs? Swimming stuff or walking gear? If you’re going on a long journey then pack a small bag with clothes in for the next day, some pajamas and toothbrush – basically, an overnight bag which will be easier for when you arrive and then you can take your time the next day unpacking and sorting all your things out.
For the kids, make sure you have a blanket and pillow in the car to keep them warm and if you need them to sleep it’s far comfier if they have a blanket to hold onto.
Then for any cases of car sickness or spillages, etc. have some paper towels and wet wipes handy in the front seat.
Is Everyone Safe? Is Everyone Comfy?
Safety and comfort are the two most important things you need to have or to be on a road trip. If you need a new car seat for your child, if your seat belts rub on the kids’ necks then now is the time to sort them out – before you make the trip. As explained here, choosing and using the right convertible car seat can be a matter of life and death, so make sure you do all your research and choose carefully.
What To Do In The Car?
Snack! Snacking in the car keeps everyone happy, it gives you all something to do and something to keep the kids quiet. Get a mix of healthy snacks, sweet and savory, too much sugar on a long car journey could get the kids a bit too excited.
Make sure you have a good selection of music. Again, this will stop everyone getting bored, and if you have a good mix of everyone’s favorites and some to sing along too then, you should keep everyone happy. Portable DVD players or iPads are really useful for long car journeys; if you can find some comfy headphones too then everyone’s a winner – you can listen to what you want to, and the kids are entertained with whatever they want.
Games for everyone to play are good to pass the time too. Eye Spy, Twenty Questions and I’m Going On A Picnic are all games which can be played with no equipment, just you and your imagination. There are also plenty of travel games you can buy, and if you ask your children to pack their own backpacks with their own activities in then, this gives them less reason to complain that there’s nothing to do. Be prepared to get stuck in traffic, so make sure you have more than enough games and ideas to cover all eventualities.
Plan for stops en route and make sure you have time for them. Check out your route beforehand and see if there’s anywhere that would be fun to stop off at on the way. Aside from toilet stops or food breaks, there could be an attraction on the way which would get the holiday off to a good start or even just a park to play in where everyone can stretch their legs.
If you’re traveling for an extended period of time, then it might be a good idea to go overnight and have a good rest in between. It will be less stressful to know you have somewhere nice to stay and get a good sleep. When you arrive you’ll be refreshed and ready to enjoy the holiday, plus it’s something to look forward to on the way.
Take It Easy
Kids will sense when you’re stressed, so if you get angry with other drivers, tense because of traffic, this will affect them and make them stressed too. A few people in the car who are all stressed out is not a good mix. It’s such a small space, and when tensions are high, arguments can start, and this could ruin a holiday. So expect traffic, bad weather, bad drivers, expect the lot and take it in your stride. Enjoy the journey and enjoy the quality time and the conversation with the rest of your family.
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