If there is one combination that does not go together, it is long car journeys and children. Long journeys aren’t fun at the best of times, but when you have little ones that are bored and tired, it can be ten times worse. The key is to be prepared. A little bit of planning in advance can go a very long way when surviving a car journey with your children. With that in mind, read on to discover some useful tips that will help you along the way…
Pack healthy snacks for the journey
It is important to make sure you have enough snacks for your children throughout the journey. Moreover, you need to select these snacks with care. If you bring sugary sweets and fizzy drinks, you are only going to have an even bigger problem on your hands when your children get incredibly hyperactive. Instead, pack snacks that are healthy, such as crackers, cheese cubes, and fruit. You can easily carry these snacks in zip-lock plastic bags. You will also want to make sure you bring along a rubbish bag for all of the trash, otherwise you are going to be spending most of your trip cleaning out your car. Oh, and don’t forget wipes either! You can never have enough wipes when taking a journey with children. You will be surprised by how many you go through, whether it is cleaning up a leaky juice in their lunch box or cleaning their sticky hands before and after snacks.
Make sure you are well equipped
There are a number of different items you are going to need for the journey. This includes a portable potty. After all, even children that are fully potty-trained can have a habit of needing a wee at the most inconvenient moments. You should also make sure that you have a medical kit. Hopefully, there won’t be any grazes or cuts along the way, but it is certainly a good idea to carry all of the essentials just in case. This includes everything from travel sickness medicine and antihistamine to liquid Paracetamol and plasters.
Choose music that the whole family will enjoy
It’s not fair to make your children listen to your favourite classical or rock songs. Equally, you won’t want to listen to kids songs or cheesy pop songs all the way (well, maybe you do – everyone has different tastes, after all). But, if like most people, your taste in music and your children’s taste in music do not match, then you need to find a happy medium.
Plan the journey carefully
Planning the journey ahead is not only important for the driver, but it is vital for keeping the journey as calm and hassle-free as possible. When planning your journey, you need to make note of the service stations along the way. Your children will need the opportunity to get out of the car and stretch their legs and go to the toilet. If you haven’t planned this ahead of time, you could find yourself on a long stretch of road without any opportunities to stop. You can make sure this doesn’t happen by planning carefully and, therefore, stopping beforehand. It is also a good idea to find out whether any service stations on the way have play areas for children, as this will give your kids the chance to burn off any energy. Hopefully, they will spend a lot of the journey sleeping afterwards!
It’s as much about what you should not do as what you should do
When it comes to car journeys with children, it is as much about what you should not do as what you should do. Here are some of the things you should never do throughout your journey:
– Lose your temper. While this can be very difficult at stages, you are only going to make things worse if you get angry. If you treat anything like it is a big deal, your children will make sure it is.
– Assume they will entertain themselves. Big mistake! You will hear endless cries of “I’m bored” throughout the journey.
– Ignore them when they say they are feeling sick. A short delay so they can settle their tummy now is better than having your car covered in sick!
Think about what time of the day you are going to travel
You should give a lot of thought to when you are going to travel. There are many different factors that will help you to make your decision. For example, it can be a good idea to drive during the evening, as your children are going to be more likely to sleep during the journey. Equally, you need to consider when the roads are most likely to be quiet. The last thing you want to do is spend hours stuck in traffic with crying children during what is supposed to be a festive break. However, if you do not plan your journey times carefully, this can easily happen.
Keep your children entertained
Children can be a nightmare during car journeys because they are bored. This is why it is important to take a number of different toys to keep them entertained. You should also think of different games you can play during your journey, and no, this doesn’t mean revert to I Spy With My Little Eye… That game gets tiring very quickly. It is also a good idea to make sure you hold back some toys for later on during the journey. The last thing you want to do is give your children everything at once, as they will quickly run out of things to do.
Always prioritize safety
When you are in a rush, it can be very easy to overlook your safety checks before your journey. However, it’s so important to give your car the once over to ensure everything is in working order. You also need to ensure that your children are safely strapped in for the journey. If you are looking for a car seat, make sure you look for something with good reviews, like the Graco car seat. Make sure the car seat you choose is compatible you’re your vehicle and the right age for your child.
Also, if the weather is bad where you live, or at the destination you are travelling too, you will need to make sure you carefully check out your journey in advance. It may be that some roads have been flagged up as dangerous because of ice on the road. In which case, you should look for an alternative route. And finally, if your children are crying or getting restless, make sure you pull over until the situation is resolved. The last thing you want is for the driver to get disrupted and a crash to happen.
So there you have it: some top tips for surviving a long car journey with. If you follow the advice that has been mentioned above, you will increase the chance of everything going smoothly significantly. It is important to pack sensibly, to keep your children entertained, and to always put safety first. If you can do this, you can survive the dreaded car journey!