Long car journeys can be challenging when travelling with small children, but there are a few ways you can avoid the question of “are we there yet?”. If you’re heading off on holiday, your trip starts as soon as you get in the car… so it’s only fair to make it a fun ride!
In an ideal world, they’d sleep the whole way there, but we all know that’s never going to happen. Whether you’re travelling with a baby or a two year old, discover our top tips to make your next long car journey an enjoyable one.
Remember those classic car games?
I-spy or spot the yellow car? We’ve all played these childhood classics before, so why not introduce them to your children on your family road trip? Kids can spend hours guessing or searching for that rare yellow car and, before you know it, you’ll be at your destination. Why not spark a little creativity and come up with your own in-car game? Or, better yet, ask your little ones to think of a game they’d like to play. Our toddler’s too little to understand the concept of I-spy just yet so we play a simplified version; ‘I spy… a tree!’ and let him find it.
Give Yourself Space
For most people, buying a family car will be the first thing they think of as soon as they are pregnant. But for others, this is something that will be on the bottom of their list until the child is fully grown (when they take their first steps). They will keep their old car which is not the best suit for a family. But, if you are a wise parent, it would be best to invest in a family car as soon as possible, especially for travelling convenience. You cannot use some specific car models to go on a long car journey if you have kids. For instance, if you have a tiny car with minimal space, such as a sedan, it may not be the best option as you may have a hard time fixing a child safety seat. Fortunately, there is a quick way to solve this. You may opt to invest in a new car that may be long to process or hire one. For instance, you may want to consider hiring a VW Van, a good option for long road trips with kids.
Pack a playlist
Listening to music will add a different dimension to your in-car entertainment. Build a playlist featuring your little ones’ favourite songs beforehand and they’ll be bopping their heads all the way to your destination. If you’re travelling with more than one child and they can’t decide on what to listen to, why not pack some headphones? It’s a great way to kill an hour or two. If your little ones struggle to keep regular headphones on, you can get headband style ones which are far more comfortable for them – plus give a retro vibe to their outfits!
Bring along some toys
Bring out the little artist in them or spark their creativity with a challenging but fun toy for the car ride. Toys can be a great way to keep your small children occupied on long car journeys, but they don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, thanks to websites like Toys for a Pound. Pick up a colouring book and crayons, a magic trick set or simply a fun puzzle and they’ll be occupied for hours. Top marks if you pop in a lap tray for them so that they have a ‘table’ to play on! Space out when you give the toys rather than present them all at once, try one every hour or every number of miles. For more excitement, wrap them individually or pop them in a ‘blind’ bag and let them pick something out of it each time!
Always carry treats
If it’s a really long journey, you might want to bring a packed-lunch… but don’t forget the sweets! We all love a little sweet treat every now and then, and your children will certainly be no different. After all, hangry is never fun, especially during a long car journey! If you’re worried too much sugar will have them bouncing around in the back of the car, pack some healthier snacks they’ll love such as crackers or fruit. I find a combo of rice cakes, raisins, pre-prepared fruit and the odd sweet works well so that they don’t feel like they’re missing out.
A long car journey can be a great way to teach your child something new. Grab a tablet or a smartphone and download an app they’ll love. There are plenty of great apps out there designed to get your little ones thinking and their imagination running wild. If your children are too young to engage with a game or an app, why not download their favourite TV show? Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol will undoubtedly help the journey fly by.
Don’t forget a good book
Avoid over-using the tablet and bring along a good read for the journey. You could even get the rest of the car involved (minus the driver!) by taking turns reading a page or two. Before you know it, the hours will have flown by. Need a little inspiration? The Gruffalo, Dear Zoo and Sweet Dreams Peter (featuring Peter Rabbit), are all great books for those long car journeys with your small children but if you need more inspo, here are some of our favourite toddler reads.
Do you have any tips or tricks that have been a success on a long car journey with your children? Share them in the comments below!