Is there a secret to surviving long car journeys with kids? With all the best will globally, it is unreasonable to expect children to accommodate long car journeys as adults can. Their natural curiosity and boundless energy can make for a tumultuous car journey that can be hard to withstand for even the most patient of people if not adequately prepared for.
While there isn’t a secret as such, there are some great tips you should heed before setting off on your journey that will make the trip much easier for everyone in the car.
Explain the Journey
If your children are in the dark about what is happening and why you are in the car, then chances are they won’t react well to the trip. If they are old enough, explain to them what is happening, how long it could take and that you will try to make it as fun and interesting as possible.
Pack a grab bag that has all your child home comforts and activities in to keep them busy. Tablets, laptops, colouring pencils or crayons, books, paper, puzzles and travel games can all be useful to help pass the time. Make sure to pack their favourite toys too and consider adding toys they can use to occupy their hands during long drives, such as fidget toys, a surprised Patrick toy or other ASMR items they use to self soothe.
Don’t forget spare batteries or charger cables to make sure any electronics are readily charged for the drive duration.
Snacks and Drinks
Kids love snacks. That is a given fact. So before you head out, pack them a healthy lunch or selection of snacks. Aim to stick to dry foods and avoid chocolate or yoghurts that can melt and/or cause a mess in the back of the car. Mix fun treats with healthy snacks to make sure you fill them up with junk food or too much sugar. Choose a compartmentalized lunch box to keep food and snacks separate.
Allow Extra Time for Stops
It can be tempting to hold off on giving your child and even yourself too much to drink. But becoming dehydrated isn’t good for anyone. Make sure to allow for regular bathroom breaks and stops to get out of the car and stretch your legs. Check your route beforehand, so you have an approximate idea of how long it is between stops and where they are on your journey.
Company is Good
From taking soft toys to having someone to talk to in the car. Loneliness can be upsetting for children, and being isolated in a car seat alone isn’t fun. Have their favourite toys to hand if they will be sitting alone or consider having someone sit with them so they don’t feel lonely and any issues or tantrums can be dealt with easily and quickly without much disruption to the journey.
Above all, remember they’re children, and as such, they will need more understanding and care when being asked to sit still for long car journeys. Making it as fun as possible can help everyone enjoy the ride.