We've all been there. A long, very hot and very boring car journey. Ugh. There isn't much you can do to make it worse is there? Oh, hang on. Throw some kids into the mix why don't you? That's definitely going to raise the stress levels, right? Well, not necessarily. The lovely Hannah logs at Hi Baby has shared her top ten ways to cope with kids on car journeys. Hope it helps!
Car journeys can be pretty tedious no matter what age you are. 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 be 100% in a confined space but there are things you can do to make the trip better for everyone.
- The first and most important factor is, of course, safety. Take a minute to double check that a) your child is still within the age/height/weight limit for their seat and b) that the seat is installed correctly. If your child is sitting safely and securely she'll be comfortable too, and that's definitely going to help with long car journeys!
- Plan your route around you 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 baby is going to be happier.
- 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.
- Bring along some entertainment. For older kids that could be audio books while baby might need a supply of teethers and rattles. Car games such as eye 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!
- 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.
- Pack more snacks. Seriously, you can never have too many!
- Don’t forget the gadgets. A rear view mirror can be really helpful for keeping an eye on 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 the iPad is always good for half an hour or so.
- 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 kids 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!
- Dress for the occasion. If it’s a long journey you want your kids 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 we adults could get away with it!
- Try to relax and focus on the fact that it will all be over soon...
What are your top tips for long car journeys with kids?