Gone are the days when you and your partner would whizz down the motorway, maybe stopping for a quick snack at a motorway services but be in and out in 7 minutes. Well, now you’re a parent the anticipation of long car journeys can induce stress and anxiety just at the thought of being in a confined space with your little terrors for multiple hours on end!
It doesn’t have to be like this though, there is hope that a car journey with a child can be a pleasant experience, it just requires a little bit of forward planning.
1. Plan your route
Make sure that you know exactly where you’re going and where there are places that you can stop along the way. Have an estimate of the journey time in your head and then add on 45minutes to manage your expectations! Either use a sat nav or print out your directions step by step so they’re easy to follow whilst you’re driving.
2. Time your travel
What time of day you travel can significantly impact the nature of the journey. Leaving after rush hour with your children all fed, bathed and in their PJ’s can be a great idea as they will sleep in the car and can be put straight to bed the other end.
3. Make pre-prepared snacks
Snacks can be a great hack at keeping boredom at bay. We know that parents aren’t supposed to use food as bribery but when needs must…!
Good healthy snack choices are things that aren’t sticky, can’t be spilled and won’t stain anything. Dried fruit, carrot and pepper sticks, rice cakes and pre chopped apple make great travel companions.
4. Have essentials to hand
So you’ve successfully packed all the suitcases in the car only to realise that you’ve also packed all the nappies and portable potty at the back of the boot too.
Remember to keep these items, along with a change of clothes, wet wipes and a medicine kit to hand in the front seat so that they’re easy to access when you need them.
5. Have some car games up your sleeve
For toddlers have a big bag of toys up front. They’ll likely tire of each one pretty quickly so it’s key to have lots of them ready and waiting. Tidying up the car of all the toys that have been thrown all of the place will be worth it if they’re kept happy and occupied!
For older children audio books can successfully pass hours and won’t make them car sick which reading normal books might.
Games to play all together:
Eye spy with my little eye
Name that tune