I’ve been a parent for over 9 years now ( how did that happen? ) and have done MANY long car journeys with babies and toddlers, changed nappies in the boot, cleaned sick off car seats more times than I can count and listened to the same CD 100 times to keep everyone happy. This guest post has some great tips to help you survive car journey with little ones.
Family holidays are great, but travelling with young children is sometimes be so stressful you feel like you need another break as soon you’ve gotten home. The good news is, if you are planning a road trip or long car journey with your little ones, there are some simple things you can do to ease the stress.
Start your journey when your baby has fallen asleep
If you have a baby small enough for a car seat, let them start a nap inside the house in their seat. The movement of the car will keep them sleeping and when they do wake up they’ll be refreshed and happy.
Take kid-friendly music and audiobooks
Slightly older children will appreciate audiobooks such as The Gruffalo, while music can be used to lull your kids to sleep or get them in a happy, lively mood — which means (hopefully) no screaming or crying!
Take plenty of breaks
And make sure those breaks are properly revitalising. Stretch your legs, pep yourself up with a coffee or tea and something to eat, and enjoy the fresh air. You’ll lose time but maintain your sanity.
Stop at some attractions on the way
Stopping off at parks, historic sites and amusement parks is part and parcel of a road trip — but even if you’re just going from A to B, it’s something that will break up the journey and make it much more fun.
Bring a changing pad
Public toilets along motorways often aren’t particularly brilliant, so don’t rely on them having clean facilities. Bringing a changing pad and some cleaning wipes is recommended.
Pack window shades
If it’s very sunny then window shades are essential for keeping your little ones nice and cool. They can also be used when it’s time for a nap and you need a little darkness in the car.
Stuff cold drinks and snacks in a cooler
When the weather is warm, the interior of a car can quickly get hot. If your food and drink container isn’t directly blasted with air conditioning then it could become unpleasantly warm. A cooler will keep everything crisp and fresh.
Substitute sugary treats for healthy snacks
Don’t give into your kids’ calls for chocolate or sweets. It might keep them quiet in the short term but the inevitable sugar rush will be a nightmare! Instead, give them healthy things like crackers, cheese and fruit (you can always reward them with sweets when you reach your destination).
Give your kids some brand new toys
One way to distract your kids and keep them happy and entertained is by buying some new toys and unveiling them during the car journey. They’ll love the surprise!
Make sure you have plenty of water
Water is essential to any car journey, but especially when you have kids. You’ll use it to stay hydrated, clean up mucky hands and faces, and wash sticky toys.
Of course, the most important thing is to invest in some good quality car seats or carriers so that your little ones are strapped in safely in the back. This will give you some peace of mind as you drive and you’ll enjoy the journey that little bit more!
Images by MIKI Yoshihito. (#mikiyoshihito and Chill Mimi, used under Creative Commons licence