If you’re off on holiday this Easter and have a long car journey to make with your children, it’s well worth thinking about how to keep them occupied during the trip to make your travel as stress-free as possible.
No one wants to be cooped up in a car for a long journey, least of all children who are often too excited about their holiday to want to sit still for any length of time.
Here are a few of my favourite holiday tips on how to survive a long car journey with your sanity intact:
- Plan your route
Plan your route in advance. Kids easily get board when kept in the car for too long, so plan your journey allowing for plenty of stops so that they can visit the toilet and have a runabout to release any pent up energy. Some service stations have outside children’s play areas with swings and slides. Allow plenty of time for them to run loose for a while. With any luck running around for a while may mean young children will sleep for the next part of the trip.
- Give them a snack box for the journey
It can be particularly hard getting children to eat breakfast when you’ve had to get them up and out of the house at some ungodly hour, so prepare them a snack box to keep them going through the journey. Make it a fun picnic and pack their favourite foods, but take it easy on the sweet stuff – you don’t want to have hyperactive children stuck in the back of the car. If you’re worried about giving them too much, pack it in smaller batches and distribute them gradually throughout the journey.
- Take pillows for them to use in the car
Most children get tired during the journey, if only from boredom. Take pillows or small cushions for them to put their head on for a snooze. By wedging a pillow or cushion between their head and the window they should remain upright but be comfortable enough to sleep. For safety, make sure that their seatbelts remain in place while they are asleep.
- Pack some games
There is only so many games of eye-spy you can play, so pack a couple of games to keep them amused. Electronic games, such as a Gameboy, or Nintendo DS work well, but so does a pack of cards or some of the traditional travel games. Books are great for children who enjoy reading, or a colouring pad and pencils for young children, but be careful as this can make some children feel travel sick.
- Travel sickness pills or travel bands
If your children are unfortunate enough to suffer from travel sickness, consider a preventive treatment such as travel sickness pills or pressure point travel bands. Pack a bag or bin just in case. Opening the window for some fresh air and stopping when a child feels sick may help. But whether your child is prone to travel sickness or not, it is worth having a change of clothes that is easily accessible, just in case – you don’t want to unpack the boot of the car just to find a change of clothes in your suitcase.