It’s nearly half term and parents are planning long car journeys with kids. And are dreading those journeys. Sure, the destination will probably be worth it. But transporting children across the country is less than fun at the best of times. For many, the thought of hour after hour in the car with a small child can be too much.
For those willing (or at least contemplating) to take on a long car journey with the kids, keep reading; it might just be a game changer!
9 secrets to surviving long car journeys with children
Snacks have to be the most important tip to remember. Take more than you think you might need and of every variety! Fruit, drinks, crisps, biscuits, bread, cakes and more. An army marches on its stomach. A family drives happily on its stomach too.
Closely linked with the snacks, it is imperative that you have wipes to hand. Essentially, you’re trying to limit the number of times you have to stop at a service station and having wipes to hand can reduce that number by at least half!
If you enthuse your children about the destination, they’re more likely to travel well. Be careful with this though – if you over-enthuse, you could a) set yourself up for an anti-climax and b) go the other way and induce frustration for not being there already.
4. A Toy Bag
Fill a bag with your children’s favourite toys – LEGO, fidget spinners, teddies or anything else. This isn’t going to buy you hours, but gaining minutes wherever possible isn’t to be sniffed at. Let the kids pack their own so they feel a sense of ownership over the toy bag.
Yes yes, screen time is apparently the root of all evil, but not when on long car journeys with the children. To be fair to the kids, if you’re on a motorway for the majority of your trip, there’s not a great deal to look at out of the window so an iPad loaded with their favourite games (educational, if you must), TV shows and films is nothing to feel bad about. Do what you gotta do to get through with minimal difficulties.
As a driver, there’s nothing more irritating than regular stops. BUT, with children you will need to stop more than you’d like to. It doesn’t have to be a half hour stop, though. Simply pulling over for 5-10 mins and allowing the kids to get out their car seats, stretch their legs and wriggle around enables them to get through the next couple of hours much more easily.
7. Over-night stops
If your journey is likely to take you more than ten hours, consider an over-night stop. It allows you to relax, take some time away from the car and enjoy some time together. Starting fresh the next day for you as the driver and your family as passengers makes the whole experience more manageable.
A little something up your sleeve can go a long way on long car journeys. Whether it’s a small toy or a sweet treat, having a secret weapon that can be used at any moment is well worth it.
Apparently, as a general rule of thumb, 50 miles is ‘just around the corner’ and when you’re within 150 miles of your final destination, ‘nearly there’ is perfectly acceptable to say. Come on…we’ve all done it.