TRAVEL // 6 Essential Tips to prepare for a Road Trip with Children | Modern Mummy

Tuesday, 7 November 2017

TRAVEL // 6 Essential Tips to prepare for a Road Trip with Children


While a family road trip can be a BRILLIANT experience, if you have small children you should be prepared for the odd challenge or three. Most kids hate sitting still for long periods of time with nothing to do but stare out of the window.

Whether you’re travelling in your own car or rent a car for the duration of your holiday, calls of ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ from the back seat will soon signal the beginning of boredom in the junior ranks. To stop your holiday from becoming memorable for all the wrong reasons, you need a few strategies to nip any undesirable behaviour in the bud.

Take plenty of snacks and treats 
There are few things worse to endure than a ‘hangry’ child in a small enclosed space. The combination of bad mood, boredom and hunger is never a good one, so it pays to be prepared. Take a cool bag with healthy, nutritious snacks and treats and hand them out whenever needed.

Finger foods is the name of the game. Tiny sandwiches, pieces of fruit and veg, cheese sticks, cold meats, cookies and the odd sweet treat are all bound to be hugely appreciated when deployed at just the right time. Anything really that can be held in little hands without disintegrating. Don’t forget to carry small bottles of water or juice too. Whoever is in the passenger seat should be chief dispenser while you’re on the road.

Better still, have regular pit stops with a leg stretch and a picnic to break up the long journey. Many motorways now have a children’s play area where the little ones can let off some energy before you continue on your journey.

Make activity backpacks 
Pre-empt boredom by thinking smart. Get a small backpack for each child and fill it with travel games, colouring books and crayons, puzzles and playing cards, perhaps a cuddly toy and other toys that the child will appreciate. Make sure you personalise each backpack to the child’s age and interests, so it’s special and meaningful to them.

Either hand out your ‘travel presents’ at the beginning of the journey, or at the first sign of boredom. For each ‘successful’ back pack, you may well have bought yourself several blissful hours of peace and quiet while the little ones occupy themselves as the miles go by.

Encourage reading books 
Long car journeys are perfect for getting lost in a good book. If you have older children, invest in some new reading material or bring along a few old favourites. Whether you go for real books or eBooks on a Kindle or tablet is up to you. Younger children will love to look at picture books, especially if they are the interactive lift-the-flap kind.

Audiobooks on CD or in digital formats for tablets and phones are a great alternative and particularly useful if the whole family wants to listen to the same story. They are also a good way to get around the perennial problem of motion sickness which can be exacerbated by reading in a moving car.

Embrace media entertainment 
If you have portable devices such as tablets, iPods or in-car DVD players, now is the time to make good use of them. Rather than having to pay for expensive data streaming, why not preload a selection of suitable playlists, films, TV shows or videos onto your device before you hit the road?

Make sure the material is new to the children for maximum engagement and boredom busting effect. Don’t forget to have all the right chargers and cables to hand, and unless you want everyone to listen to Igglepiggle Goes Visiting, double check that everyone has a pair of headphones.

Play ‘old school’ games together 
Do you remember the travel games you used to play as a child? Who’s to say that the current generation of youngsters won’t appreciate I Spy or the Number Plate Game, Punch Buggy or the Yellow Car Game? Make up your own game and count a certain type of road sign or make of vehicle. The whole family can join in with these traditional fun ways to pass the time.

For best results, mix up periods of quiet activity with family interaction while on the road, and take periodic breaks from driving to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs, have a toilet break and move around.

Have an emergency bag to hand, just in case 
As parents of babies and toddlers know only too well, you can never taken anything for granted. Pack a bag with essentials such as a change of clothes (and nappies where necessary) just in case a drink gets spilt, a chocolate biscuit gets smeared or an accident of a different type should occur.

For general emergency and cleaning purpose, pack cleaning cloths and detergent, baby wipes, towels, spare carrier bags for anything soiled and for general rubbish, and a few sick bags for good measure. Now sit back and enjoy the journey.


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