Cars and kids are never a happy mix. The little cherubs you strap in when you leave are often absolute devils when they get out again! It’s no surprise. After all, children are just little balls of energy, so being strapped into a small space for eternity is never going to go down well.
As a family, we have had a lot of ups and downs in the car, and over the years, I have picked up plenty of tips. Here are my top five tips for driving better on long journeys when you have the kids in the car.
Preparation is everything
Young children tend not to understand the concept of long journeys, so it’s no surprise that it comes as a shock to them! I’ve found one of the best ways to deal with this is to get them involved before you even leave. Look at maps, and talk to them about how long the journey will take. You could mark out points of interest on the car so that the trip will be broken down into smaller chunks. If you can get across how long the journey will take, there will be fewer surprises for them.
It’s important to divide your journey into chunks so that the children get the chance to stretch their legs. A lot of service stations are well equipped these days- and some even have soft play areas. Taking a fifteen-minute pit stop every two or three hours might add a little onto your journey time, but it will make it a more peaceful trip!
Travel at night
Your best bet, of course, is to travel long distances overnight. The sound of the engine is a great soother for tired kids, and in the vast majority of cases, they will fall asleep fast. Make sure that you give them an exhausting day with lots of running around beforehand. Get some of their favourite stories on CD, and treat it just like you would a normal bedtime.
It’s not always possible to drive through the night, of course. So, your only other option is to make sure that you have plenty of entertainment arranged for the little ones. According to Zaner Harden Law, distractions are one of the biggest causes of car accidents. So, the more your kids have to do, the safer you will be. DVD players in the back seats can be a godsend, but you can always use your imagination, too. A game of Eye-Spy might be tiresome for you, but if it keeps your kids in good spirits, it’s only going to help.
Kids get hungry – quickly. So, always have a selection of healthy snacks and plenty of water and drinks. The promise of something yummy to eat can always bring out the better behavior from your children in my experience! Packing beforehand will also save you a lot of money at the service stations – and we all know how expensive they can be!
Do you have any more tips to add? Why not let everyone know in the comments section below!