It’s one thing to drive the kids to school or to the shops; it’s quite another thing to set off with them on a long car journey! Unless you put in some careful preparation then you are likely going to be in for a long day of ‘are we nearly there yet’ – and believe us, that can test the resolve of even the most patient of parents!
Here are a few quick tips which should help your car journey run as smoothly as possible:
If you are travelling in cramped conditions, then everyone is likely to be more on edge. Try not to fill the car up to the ceiling (we know it can be tricky!), not only is it potentially dangerous- you should ensure you can still use all your mirrors freely- but it makes for an unpleasant journey.
You’ll probably want to get the journey out of the way as quickly as possible – we understand the feeling – but taking regular breaks is a good means to reduce the stress of travelling. Kids have a lot lower boredom threshold than adults and what may seem like a reasonable amount of time to be driving for you, can seem like a lifetime for them.
Keep an eye open for a nice spot to stop, get out, stretch your legs and try and take part in a fun activity; perhaps a picnic, a play in a park or looking at something out of the ordinary. If you can, try to plan these stops before you set off as it will give you and your kids something to look forward to.
This is quite a difficult one to get right! On the one hand a long journey can be seen as a good opportunity to allow your kids to snack on their favourite treats in the hope it’ll keep them well behaved. On the other hand the last thing that you want is a hyperactive child trapped in a car – make sure you pick your treats wisely!
Every parent has faced the problem of trying to get their kids to stop playing on their Gameboys or Vitas (or whatever new fangled thing it is these days!) but car journeys are one occasion when it might be wise to make an exception! You may even want to consider buying a new game to keep them occupied.
For parents less willing to sell their principles for a few hours of peace then a great alternative is a game of eye-spy. You will be amazed, even in this day and age, how a game of eye-spy can capture the imagination. A slight riff on the classic version is to produce a list of things which you are likely to see on your journey and start a competition to see who can tick them all off first. But be prepared for some serious cheating!
It might not always be practical for you to drive at night, but if it is then it’s definitely worth considering. Just imagine it – 300km and not a single peep!