We all know that dreaded famous in-car question ‘Are we there yet?!’ The little backseat passengers do not take too long to get impatient during long car journeys and neither will you when sharing your car with kids, especially if you are the driver. There are few things that one can do to settle those little ‘monsters’ down, snacks and games often serve as great distractions. Here are some tips:
Try to make sure that everyone leaves the house in a good mood, do not rush the kids too much to the point where everyone gets into the car angry and agitated, this will make the trip sour from the get go and most likely go downhill from there.
Help them to get ready, kids will often over or under pack and possibly get frustrated with the task. To make things less stressful, why not make a list of things that you need to pack and what you should not forget to do before leaving the house, such as lock the garage door and turn off any electronics that may pose a fire hazard without supervision. Most importantly, do not forget to ask the little ones whether they need to use the toilet, you do not want to have to stop for a toilet break as soon as you have left the house!
We are all aware of technological influences on our kids, a tablet or an iPad serves as a great tool when wanting to take a child’s attention away from their frustration of being in a car for a long time. However, do not rule out the good old classics; ‘I spy’; ‘guess the hum’ and ’21 questions’. Having fun and socialising while travelling is extremely important and should not be overlooked, you as well as the young ones will benefit from some mental stimulation.
Entertainment has come a long way in the past few decades, you do not need the comfort of your sofa to watch a movie anymore, in car entertainment is available to buy from most retailers and electronics shops. Most car manufacturers will also be able to offer you an option of having pre-installed DVD and/or video game screens in the car seats. Kids will be distracted by their favourite cartoons or games without having to recharge the device, unlike the portable consoles.
Another way to get the kids to calm down is by providing them with snacks. Giving a frustrated child a little snack every half an hour or so during a trip would improve their mood significantly. Now when we say snack, we do not mean foods that contain high levels of sugar, because a hyperactive child instead of a frustrated one isn’t a much better alternative! Try to go for healthier options such as fruit bags and flapjacks and try to avoid foods that are messy – yogurt on a bumpy road is a no go.
Most importantly do not forget to take regular breaks, these will be good for both you and the little ones. Some service stations now have kids play areas, a short break where they would be able to run around and release some energy is a great idea. You in turn will also be able to stretch your muscles and take your mind off the long road.