We all love our kids, but let’s face it - sometimes they drive us up the wall! That’s all very well and good when it’s a bit of bickering in the kitchen or at the park, but when you’re driving, it’s a very different story. According to research, having your kids distracting you in the car is even more dangerous than using your phone when you drive, and that’s illegal! So, in order to minimise the risks, how can you keep the kids quiet (or at least entertained), especially on those longer rides?
Games like “I Spy...” are total classics and never go out of style, but they’re easy to get bored of if you haven’t got any others up your sleeves. These days, plenty of apps have you covered in this respect, thanks to prompts that’ll keep you all entertained for hours. Not only do they remind you of the classics, but there are also some awesome original ideas such as storytelling games to inspire creativity, plus geography games, trivia, and the digital version of Heads Up! For younger children, make sure they have their toys, including the cuddly ones, for comfort.
When kids get hangry, they act up. Let’s be real, adults are often the same in this respect, so don’t make life harder on yourself than it needs to be. Packing snacks for a long journey doesn’t need to mean dealing with a sugar rush—there are plenty of healthier options if you think ahead. Maybe keep a few lollies in the front to reward good behaviour—look, sometimes you do need to bribe them!
Don’t Forget The Motion Sickness Pills
Being in the car for a long time can have adverse effects on people, and children are likely to complain about it the most! The last thing you want is a sick child along the way, so it’s best to bring along motion sickness pills for those who are prone.
Let Them Play DJ
Nothing beats a good singalong in the car, but arguments are bound to happen if the kids are bickering about the tunes. Let them take it in turns and alternate between songs, on the agreement that they let you have a song every once in a while as well. If you’re really thinking ahead, you can even get them to create a playlist ready for the journey!
Drawing, colouring, taking photos out the window or even writing in a journal can keep kids busy for ages (in theory), so make sure to pack the pens, pencils, paper and any other materials you may need! You can even buy little car trays for them to use as a steady surface.
Worried your kids just don’t read enough? With a long trip stretching out on the horizon, they’re probably going to want to read! Set aside half an hour before setting off to head to the local library so they can all choose something exciting. Bonus points if it’s not something they have to read for school!
Where are you going? What roads do you have to use? Road trips can be incredible teaching moments about new places and learning about geography. Encourage them to look at the map and be aware of where they are, so they won’t ask that dreaded question, “are we nearly there yet?”. You can even let them help pick the stops along the way for them to run around and get some fresh air and food!
Gamify Your Journey
We’ve already talked about packing treats, but you can reward good behaviour in other ways! How about dishing out a Best Passenger Award? The prize is up to you.
Download Some Movies
Look, it might be somewhat of a last resort, but here’s where technology can really be your friend. Before setting off, download a bunch of stuff from Netflix or your preferred streaming app to keep them entertained on their screens along the route. Just be sure you have enough screens that there aren’t going to be any arguments. Pack their headphones as well!
Use The Time To Talk
They say families don’t talk enough these days. Whether the kids are usually at school, at their clubs or even just playing outside with their friends, it can mean you don’t get any quality family time. Get an overview of what’s new and what’s been going on as you drive.
If any of the above become too distracting for you, it’s time to move on to something else. If things are really distracting, you have to pull over - it’s better to be safe than sorry!