When you have kids, traveling by car can become a difficult part of your holiday. The most often heard “Are we there yet mum?” can drive you mad when asked for the five hundredth time in as many seconds.
The reason they keep asking is because they don’t really have a fully developed sense of time. They might be genuinely afraid you are going to keep them in that car bored and tugging at their little sister forever. It might help to explain to them how long the whole trip will take by dividing the trip into sections. Add in that you are 20 minutes away from stopping at that place with the ducks and donkeys. Little milestones will make the journey and the concept of how far they need to go still – easier to digest.
The time in which you choose to drive can be carefully chosen to optimize sleeping time in the car. You can try leaving before sunrise and you will manage several hours of quiet driving time before they wake up and want entertainment. Some folks travel at night because everybody is sleeping. Not only do you get a peice of mind but you also save on the food budget. Plan the trip not to coincide with any major traffic surrounding holiday season at least to minimize time spent in the car. Take your food breaks during work traffic. People go to lunch around noon and get off of work between 4-5 pm. Plan to take your lunch and dinner breaks around this time since spending time in large amounts of traffic will obviously take longer to get to your destination.
There are some things you can do to make the ride a bit smoother and more fun for everyone. It’s important to plan ahead when deciding to take a long car journey with your kids. Make sure the car is comfortably packed; keep the backseat clear so they have more space. Here are 5 surefire ways to keep your long car ride fun for kids:
1. Pack a goodie bag for each child filled with simple cheap toys that you think can keep them amused. Depending on their ages there some creative and inexpensive items that will keep them quiet and happy. Browse through the cheaper isle of the toy store.
2. Another good buy, speaking of inexpensive items, is a deck of cards (if you do not already own any). This is a great investment not only for the car ride but for the destination as well.
3. There are all kinds of listening materials available. You could buy some, borrow some from your local library or look around on the internet. Radio-productions and taped books can be a wonderful way to pass the time together in the car and enjoy a book together as a family.
4. The classic car journey activity is singing. And for a good reason too. Try to choose a CD that everyone will enjoy.
5. Coloring books, puzzles, crosswords and sticker books can be included in another goodie bag along with crayons to create hours of fun and more importantly quiet.
There are also all kinds of electronic portable gaming devices which are a fun way to pass the time. If you have a DVD player in your car you can stock up on a new DVD to keep them entertained and quiet. Remember the journey is part of the holiday so make it fun. Stop along the way and appreciate the sights. Use the opportunity to explore new places. Regular breaks will make the long trip easier on everyone. Pack a picnic and let your kids release their pent up energy.
The most important thing is to keep your activities varied. Alternate 30 minutes of card playing with some singing and then some coloring in. With some planning and creativeness you can make you car ride enjoyable for the whole family – and that’s what vacations are about after all!