Taking to the open road!
Road-tripping as a family is a wonderful way to explore together, but the downside of this is obviously the in-between part, when you’re driving for a long period of time and your kids can get a little bit, how shall we put it? Bored, yes bored is probably the polite way to put it!
Tantrums, over-tiredness, and boredom add up to a recipe which is a tad bit stressful to say the least, and if you want to enjoy your road trip without looking back on it and wondering how you got through it, you need to come up with a few ideas to alleviate the stressful parts, because there will be a few. The idea is to enjoy all of it as a complete trip, without simply ‘getting through’ the longer driving parts.
Thankfully, this is entirely possible, and there are many ways you can make your road trip not only great fun overall, but also educational for your little ones too.
Planning is key
Surprises are stressful, so make sure you plan your route well ahead of time, and research where you can stop to fill up your car, fun stops along the way, where you can eat, and facilities such as playgrounds and beaches, for running off a little steam.
Play games as you travel
A good way to help distract your children from the time you’re driving for longer periods is by playing games in the car. Let this be a family activity, so perhaps playing bingo, which is not only a fun thing to do but also helps younger children learn about numbers, and you could have a prize for the winner. Ask questions, keep a conversation flowing, involve everyone, and make sure you pull into your games aspects of the scenery and places you’re passing; so ask questions, ask ‘what is that?’, ‘what do you think of that place?’. This means you’re getting them to experience and have an opinion on what they’re seeing.
Map reading is functional and fun
Most of us rely on sat-nav for directions these days, and whilst that is certainly the best option to go for, an old fashioned map is a good tool for your kids to follow. You don’t need to tell them that you’re actually listening to the sat-nav, and if they think you’re relying on them to help direct you to your destination, they will have a sense of importance and develop important life skills at the same time.
Technology is a god-send
You probably won’t have Wi-Fi as you’re travelling to and from places, so make sure you load up Kindles, iPad, and tablets with games and apps before you go, ones which don’t require an Internet connection. Make sure you have an in-car charger handy too!
On top of this, a portable DVD player is a great investment for watching films. Simply buy some second hand DVDs before you head away and you’re set for a good few hours!
Give plenty of thought to your packing
We know that with kids comes the unexpected, so always think outside the box when it comes to packing for your road trip! Wet wipes are a must, as these fulfil a range of requirements, as well as pacifiers for younger children, a sunshade for the car windows, and a cool box full of juice and snacks, including fruit.
Think comfort too
Obviously at some point during the day you’re going to want to settle your kids down for a nap, and in that case they need to be comfortable. Remember to take cushions, a blanket, and if they have a favourite toy or something with which they always sleep, remember to take it with you. Unfamiliar surroundings have a habit of upsetting sleep patterns, so anything familiar and comfortable will help.
These few tips should certainly put you on the fast track to a happy and fun road trip.