Growing up, one of the worst things was those long car journeys that seemed to go on forever.
You sat cramped in the back of the car. Dad getting frustrated with the traffic and long drive. Mum trying to navigate and play peacekeeper between the young ones in the back.
All it takes is one ‘Are we there yet?’ to send everyone into meltdown.
A lot of things may have changed since then, but long car journeys are still a tedious experience, especially for your kids.
Chances are that during the festive season, you'll have to head out on the road at some point to pay a visit to your long distance relatives.
To make matters worse, the roads are at their busiest over the Christmas period, with other families doing the same.
So what can you do to beat the boredom of those long car journeys? Here are our top tips.
Before you even set out on the road, you can take steps to help reduce some of the boredom that you might suffer. With more cars on the road than at almost any time of the year, any delay caused by traffic or roadworks is only going to add to your stress levels.
That will easily pass on to your children, who won’t take your explanation that “It’s out of your hands” too well.
Plan your route in advance and check what your GPS says about potential delays and road works.
An alternative route might take a little longer, but if its smooth driving and you avoid notorious traffic blackspots, then you will have a much easier drive.
Getting out and stretching your legs is a must for most journeys. Take a look at the route you have planned and see if there are any nice spots to stop for a break.
It can be a quick stop, but we recommend taking 20-30 minutes to get some fresh air and stretch out those aching limbs.
You don’t necessarily have to stop at a services. If you want to avoid the temptation of junk food (or the pester power of your children), then look for somewhere off the main roads.
A nice park or a view point. These moments will help give your eyes a break from the road.
And if you can get your kids running around a bit, they might tire themselves out a bit for the next leg.
No one wants to have their kids staring at a computer screen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. But, if there is ever a decent time to hand your child a tablet or games console, its on these long car journeys.
You’ll need to make sure they are fully charged, and you might want to bring a power cable that you can plug into your car’s power source.
You can still be disciplined and use the threat of removal as a way to make them behave. It's also perfectly okay to have them take a break from the tablet. After all, books and comics never run out of battery.
Alternatively, you might want to create a travel playlist for the trip, combining songs your kids love with ones that you adore.
Not only is it a great way to have everyone singing along in the car, but you can also introduce the next generation to the music you love.
It might not be their cup of tea, but you may unlock a future music savviness that will bring you benefits when you’re older.
A lot of the pains of driving is down to your children returning to an almost primal state, focusing on the base desirers of sleep, entertainment and hunger.
By being prepared with a variety of different foods, you can tackle any hungry mouth that starts chirping too loudly.
If your car is your pride and joy, you might want to reconsider handing your children sticky sweets and chocolate that can melt into upholstery far too easily.
Savoury snacks and dried fruit might be a better option. But if you prefer sanity to sanitation, then you will want to give the kids whatever they demand!
Just be careful when it comes to the squash and soft drinks, as toilet breaks are going to become a must!
If you’re driving late or it's been a long day, tiredness is bound to creep in to your children.
Not being able to sleep because they are uncomfortable or cold is going to get real boring real quick as they nag you non-stop. So pack a few blankets and pillows in your car.
Having these on-hand can make it much easier to convince your kids to drop off, than it is without them.
If you really want to play some mind games, you might even want to change them out of their day clothes and into their pyjamas.
If they think its bedtime, they might switch off all by themselves!
Old-fashioned car games are a trick one. Do you really want to engage in endless hours of eye-spy with your kids?
There’s a reason these old standards are still used today. Just make sure you set some ground rules before you start. Like giving yourself a set amount of questions or guesses, making sure the clues aren’t too obscure.
If you have young ones, it can be tricky to get them involved or playing fair. They might prefer a game like car snooker, where you have to spot different colour cars.
Long motorway journeys can be a dull viewing experience. But now and then, you might drive past something a bit more interesting.
Being aware of what’s coming up on the route, you can prime your kids to take a look and give them some info about what they see.
It might not be Stonehenge or the Angle of the North, but even a flock of sheep or herd of cows can get kids excited. Put yourselves in their shoes!
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