Travelling long distances with kids in the back of the car can be a modern day nightmare. They’ll moan, whine, beg to stop, want sweets and ask interminable questions and generally make their presence known.
So how to avoid this? It’s all about preparation beforehand and timing.
Leave Late – If You Can
Let’s say you have a journey lasting over 4 hours. If your kids are under ten years old then the best way to handle this is to leave late, not early.
Kids are programmed to be most active in the day time and, if you can, leave that journey to the time they normally go to bed. This may not always be possible, and will take some arrangements at your intended destination, but you’ll find the roads are quieter and the kids more naturally subdued.
And Drug Them
OK, nothing illegal here – just feed them lots of carbohydrates like potatoes or pasta beforehand. Top this off with a few sweets at the start of the journey and your little treasures will naturally feel tired and lethargic.
Most kids travel well nowadays but if your little ones are susceptible to vomiting and travel sickness you may want to try the alternative approach suggested below.
Now Heat Them Up
Flight attendants have a great trick to reduce their workload. Right after feeding passengers they’ll turn the heat up in the cabin. This will knock out the majority of passengers so that they are less likely to bother the flight crew who can take a well-earned rest.
Play with their Ears
The final way to ensure your kids go fast to sleep is to play music which is low and melodic and preferably from an era from before they were born.
Sit Back and Enjoy
Follow the steps above and you should have a quiet, quick and quality journey free from the interruptions.
An alternative Approach
A great alternative to the ‘drugging’ method is to engage with your kids and make the most of the time you have without interruption or (if you ban smart phones) having them being distracted by social media or messages.
Talk to any of your friends of a similar age with kids and you’ll find that at least some of them used to enjoy the trips with their parents – at least the ones who make an effort.
Talk, Play Games, Distract and Amuse
If you, like many, disapprove of the ‘drugging’ method described above then you have to rise to the occasion and invent games, competitions, begin discussions and generally entertain your kids.
Front Seat Entertainers
Everyone in the front seats need to join in. If Dad is driving then he has to join in with Mum (or the other way around). If one can opt out, the kids could think they can too.
Some people can think back to their own times with their parents for inspiration, others make up new games. Don’t worry, there are loads of internet sites set up by enterprising people (probably parents too) listing out all sorts of games and activities for the car from number plate naming to counting the colours of the cars as they pass to ‘who am I?’ and ‘guess the animal’. Just click here to find some examples.
Your Choice – Your Kids
In the end, you have to decide what’s better for your kids and for you. Long journeys can be your idea of hell on wheels or an opportunity to spend rarely available quality time with your children. Alternatively you might use the journey with sleepy kids in the back to spend time talking to your partner – we all need quality time.