We are all familiar with the nightmare combination that is children and travel. The longer the journey and the more children you have, the more complicated it can become! If you are facing a long trip and are dreading keeping the clan occupied, read on below for some top suggestions for keeping your children occupied and entertained when you hit the road.
Tip 1: Consider travelling at night
One tip for those travelling with young children, particularly toddlers, is to consider going at night. The relaxing sensation of being driven can lull children to sleep, so you could take advantage of this and travel through the night. Doing so would be handy if you have a particularly long distance to cover in a short amount of time. Your children should sleep through the night naturally, making it a more laid-back easy drive for you. Of course, you take the hit of barely getting any sleep which you will need to catch up on; but if circumstances allow, travelling at night could be the answer for you.
Tip 2: Be Prepared
Travelling with children can throw up plenty of complications (literally). Be prepared for anything with plastic bags if your child feels ill and be sure to pack plenty of food and drink, and extra layers of easily accessible clothes in case of a vehicle breakdown.
Planning your route in advance can allow for setbacks and will also let you schedule some stops along your journey. Look up several routes in case of diversions, and make sure you’re aware of service stations along the way. This is especially relevant if you are travelling with very young children who will most likely unexpectedly announce they need to go.
If your children are being particularly difficult, you can keep them engaged by telling them how far away the next stop is and tell them about the part of the journey they are currently on.
Tip 3: Make it as comfortable as possible
One reason why some children find long journeys difficult is because they are sitting in the same position for such a long time. Make sure you have appropriate car seats and all the amenities you need. This is vital for much younger babies, for whom a travel car seat will be necessary, so they are not disturbed and can sleep through the journey. Consider a travel system with Isofix base, such as those available from Ickle Bubba for your baby, so you can easily transport them to and from the car to pushchair without disturbing them.
Pack extra blankets for warmth for when anyone eventually nods off. When you do make a scheduled stop at a service station, it’s often a good idea to encourage the children to get out of the car to stretch their legs, get some fresh air and tire themselves out with a run-around.
Tip 4: Bring plenty of entertainment
Car games, tablets, favourite toys, singalong music… all of these handy must-haves can make a nightmare journey all the smoother. By bringing a variety of games that engage your children, you can keep them occupied for hours and even tire them out. Otherwise, you could set up their
favourite film. Try and avoid games that may distract you from the road. If you are with a partner, make sure they’re doing their bit to keep the children entertained.
Some suggestions for car games include:
• Car bingo
• Name that tune
• The word association game
• The number plate game
• Car colour tally
Preventing a major tantrum is no easy feat, but mental stimulation can certainly help you to avoid a meltdown!