Car journeys with kids can be a bit of an endurance test! But not if you are prepared. As a mum of two very active boys I have travelled many hours with them since they were very little. Here are my top 10 tips for happy car travel with kids:
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#1. First things First – Be Prepared for the Worst
No matter what ages the kids, there is nothing worse than not having what you need if a child is sick or unwell when on the road.
Always pack a change of clothes, nappies, some antiseptic wipes, a couple of rubbish bags and a basic first aid kit with paracetamol, ibuprofen etc.
I also tend to put a washcloth stored in a re-sealable plastic bag for each person with a quartered lemon for extra zing and freshness.
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#2. For Babies and Younger Kids
Install a child view mirror so you can keep an eye on them. Don’t forget the sunshades on the rear and side windows so the sun won’t irritate them on the road.
#3. Comfort for Little Ones
With car seats make sure the appropriate head supports are in place for when they are napping. I also discovered a trick of tying different baby toys to pieces of string onto the car seats so that toys could be easily retrieved when inevitably flung out several times during the journey!
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#4. Comfort for Older Kids
Cushions, neck supports and seat belt adjusters make car journeys more comfortable and safer for children too big for car seats.
I encourage my kids to take their pillow with them on long journeys as a familiar comfort.
#5. Be Organised
Hang one of those back seat seat organisers on the driver or passenger seat and fill with toys, games and drinks that the kids can easily access.
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Audio books and music CDs will help to keep the kids happy and content. I find these particularly good if you have children of a similar age and can ensure you enjoy something as a family while you drive.
#7. Entertainment for Older Kids
Handheld consoles like the Nintendo DS, DVD players and tablet computers are an easy way of keeping children happy on car journeys, as they can watch their favourite shows or play games as you travel.
Just remember to pack several sets of headphones if you have more than one child, otherwise you could find the car gets quite noisy.
We have a splitter that we use for when 2 children want to share the same device, e.g. listen to the same music device, you can plug 2 headphones into it.
Image via coventrytelegraph
#8. Car Games
Play lots of fun car games. Examples of good easy games are:
- Eye-spy (with very flexible rules)
- Who can spot a red/blue/green car/combine harvester, tractor etc.
- Count the bridges
- Can you get any other passengers to wave back?
#9. Take Regular Stops
Stop every two hours to take a break. Apart from avoiding driver fatigue, it’s inevitable that everyone gets restless after a while. This allows everyone to stretch their legs and get some fresh air. It also breaks the journey.
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#10. Pack Some Healthy Snacks
There’s something about long car journeys that tends to make everyone feel slightly peckish, so pack some healthy snacks that you know your kids love.
If you’ll be travelling over a meal time, why not prepare a picnic and find a grassy spot to stop and enjoy a fun lunch before continuing your journey?
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You have reached your destination! Do you have any other ideas on how to survive a long car journey? Why not share some of your tips now in the comments below.