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Read some of our great articles on a range of parenting topics from sleeping to teething. We publish new blog posts regularly and feature a number of baby sleep experts and their top tips

Ten Ways to Cope with Kids on Car Journeys

Ten Ways to Cope with Kids on Road Trips

Make journeys with your children run more smoothly with these helpful baby travel tips!

Long, hot, boring car journeys can be a nightmare with kids in tow. Being trapped in one place and strapped into a car seat with little to do means that many children become bored and when they are bored, they are unhappy.

Hannah at Hi Baby has some great ideas for relieving the tedium of car journeys with children. We hope they help!

“Car journeys can be pretty tedious, no matter what age you are,” says Hannah. “Whether there are traffic jams to contend with or it’s a long trip, a car isn’t usually the best place for family fun. It’s not really fair to expect kids to behave perfectly in a confined space but there are things you can do to make the trip better for everyone. Here are my favourites.”

  1. The first and most important factor is, of course, safety. Take a minute to double check that your child is still within the age, height or weight limit for their car seat and that the seat is installed correctly. If your little one is sitting safely and securely, they’ll be comfortable too and that's definitely going to help with long car journeys!
  1. Plan your route around your child’s existing routine. They are far more likely to relax and drift off on the journey if it’s taking place at a time they’d usually be asleep. So, if you need to, set off a little earlier than necessary so that it coincides with nap time. There's no harm in getting somewhere ahead of schedule if it means your baby is going to be happier.
  1. Personally, there are only so many nursery rhymes I can listen to, so I like to make a playlist of music we can all enjoy. Make it fun and mix it up - some of your songs, some of theirs. Stories on CDs are a good idea too, especially if your little one tends to drift off with a book at bedtime.
  1. Bring along some entertainment. For older children that could be audio books, while a baby might need a supply of teethers and rattles. Car games such as I Spy are good fun, but make sure you have plenty of alternatives up your sleeve, as they can quickly become tiresome when you're also trying to concentrate on the road!
  1. Make sure you have familiar snacks and drinks in plentiful supply. Finger foods are obviously best here but be mindful that your little one is going to need supervision while she eats in the car.
  1. Pack more snacks. Seriously, you can never have too many!
  1. Don’t forget the gadgets. A rear view mirror can be really helpful for keeping an eye on your baby. You might also need sun shades for the windows. Toys that stick to car windows are also good for little ones and for older kids, portable DVD players or an iPad is always good for half an hour or so.
  1. Take regular breaks! It will do you all the world of good if you’re on a long drive. Again, try to take these intervals at a time when your little ones would usually be awake and ready to play or have a meal. Stretch your legs, take a quick walk and recharge the batteries ready for the next leg of the journey. Long drives are a lot easier if you break them up, trust us on this one!
  1. Dress for the occasion. If it’s a long journey, you want your child to be wearing something comfortable and easy to change if there are any accidents. There's a lot to be said for travelling in your pyjamas - if only adults could get away with it!
  1. Try to relax and focus on the fact that it will all be over soon...

Don’t forget to pack your SnoozeShade for infant carriers, to make sure your little one can be protected from the sun and from distractions that might prevent sleep.

What are your top tips for long car journeys with kids?

Further Reading:

A Month by Month Guide to Sleep Regression
Why Going for a Walk When Your Baby is Asleep is Such a Good Idea
Keep Your Baby Safe While Using a Car Seat

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