Jaclyn Bold from Bold Trailer And Caravan Repair Centre says “the key to successfully travelling with kids is being prepared and making frequent stops. Keeping the kids happy and quiet not only keeps mum and dad’s stress levels under control but also makes the drive safer for the person behind the wheel.”
Here are Jaclyn’s top 10 tips to conquer the kids and keep the back seat drivers happy.
- Before you leave, make a bar chart from journey’s start to finish. Put significant towns on the chart and let the kids colour in the bar as the towns are passed. When asked the inevitable question, refer to the chart and ask the questioner the same thing.
- Play car cricket – Count the cars you pass (this is your score) and at the first red car the person sees they are out. First to 100 wins.
- Portable DVD players with headphones are great for the kids, especially on long highway runs. The kids can watch their favourite movie for the 100th time and mum and dad don’t have to hear it.
- Books and book lights for the night runs. Reading helps the kids settle down after dinner and the driver can travel uninterrupted for a good couple of hours or more. If you are going to drive through the night this is a good way to help the kids relax into sleep. You can even add in a travel pillow for each child.
- Start your trip at 4am to get some driving hours done while the kids sleep in the car. This will give the driver some peace and quiet and you should be able to avoid heavy traffic at that time of the morning. Stopping for breakfast then becomes a treat.
- Don’t forget the classics: Colouring books and crayons, card games, sing-a-longs, spotto (of anything you like – yellow cars, motorcycles, speed signs), eye spy, small Lego kits or a Rubix Cube. Take a stable table for each child and car activities become easier.
- Number Plate Games – Make a silly sentence using the letters on the number plate to start each word. This is bound to keep the kids occupied and happy as everyone tries to outdo each other. The driver can even get involved in this game.
- Get the kids to pick different colours for themselves and they must look for things of their colour (trees / sky / road and red reflectors don’t count)
- Use www.playgroundfinder.com website and app to map out playgrounds to stop at along the way. Some regional towns have really invested in great playgrounds and getting the kids to run around during stops is a great way to burn some energy and stretch out.
- Put a portable fridge in the car and take plenty of homemade sandwiches, water and snacks. This will help you avoid expensive and unhealthy takeaway foods. It also makes it easy to feed the kids when they are hungry and is perfect if you have picky eaters or kids with food allergies.
A little planning goes a long way for car trips. Make sure the driver stops every 2 hours and where possible share the driving. A safe trip is a good trip and enjoy taking the kids along for the ride. Many memories are made on long car trips with kids.