Road trips can be a challenge for families with children. Parents often struggle to keep kids entertained and happy - while also staying focused on the road themselves.
To make your next road trip a more enjoyable experience for everyone, we've compiled a comprehensive guide on keeping children occupied, preparing for your journey, and ignoring distractions 👇
In-car games can be a lifesaver on long car journeys. These activities keep children entertained and help sharpen their cognitive skills. Here are a few games that require no preparation:
Singing along to your favourite tunes is fun for the whole family and a great way to pass the time on long car journeys. When selecting sing-along songs, consider the following:
Want some inspo? Lucky for you we’ve found Britain’s top 20 driving songs - as well as some songs that will help you focus on the road.
In addition to instant in-car games, consider bringing along portable games to keep children entertained during rest stops or at your destination. Here are a few compact, travel-friendly options:
In-car apps for kids can be a lifesaver on long car journeys, keeping children entertained while allowing you to focus on driving. Remember to download and set up these apps before your trip, and consider investing in headphones or a tablet mount for a more comfortable in-car experience. Don't forget to take breaks during your journey, allowing children to stretch their legs, take toilet breaks, and give their eyes a rest from screens.
Check out Stardew Valley or Mindcraft for something engaging and fun, or Audible’s range of children’s books for a change of pace.
Planning and preparation can significantly reduce distractions and make your journey smoother.
Plan your route and stops
Before hitting the road, map out your route and identify interesting stops along the way. Consider rest areas, parks, attractions, and restaurants that cater to families. This will help break up the journey and keep everyone excited.
However, while having a plan is important, be prepared to adjust it as needed. If the kids are getting restless or you come across an unexpected attraction, don't be afraid to change your schedule to accommodate.
Make a packing list
Create a checklist of essential items for the trip, such as clothing, toiletries, medications, snacks, entertainment, and any necessary documentation.
Prepare your vehicle
Ensure your car is in good working order by checking tyre pressure, fluid levels, and brakes. Pack an emergency kit with a flashlight, first aid supplies, blankets, and other essentials.
Create a snack and meal plan
Pack a cooler with healthy snacks, sandwiches, and drinks to avoid the need for frequent fast-food stops. Be sure to include items that are easy to eat on the go and cater to everyone's dietary needs.
Maintain a comfortable environment
Keep the car at a comfortable temperature and consider using sunshades to block direct sunlight. Bring pillows and blankets for naps, and ensure everyone has a comfortable seat.
Make sure everyone is wearing seat belts, and use appropriate car seats or booster seats for younger children. Monitor the weather and adjust your driving as needed to ensure a safe journey.
Driving with children in the car can be a fun and enjoyable experience, but staying focused on the road can also be challenging when faced with the distractions they may cause. To ensure a safe and pleasant journey, it is essential to manage these distractions effectively.
Set ground rules
Before starting your journey, establish clear rules with your children about behaviour in the car. Teach them to entertain themselves independently in the car, as this will minimise the need for your involvement and allow you to focus on driving.
Secure loose items
Ensure that toys, snacks, and other items are securely stored to prevent them from becoming a distraction or hazard while driving. It’s also a good idea to keep frequently used items such as tissues and water bottles within easy reach to avoid having to search for them while driving.
Use technology wisely
Hands-free devices, such as Bluetooth headsets or in-car voice command systems, can help you maintain focus on the road while still addressing your children's needs. Remember to use these devices responsibly and within legal limits.
Assign a co-pilot
If you are travelling with another adult, designate them as the "co-pilot" to handle any distractions or issues that arise with the children while you focus on driving.
Stay calm and composed
Children can sometimes become upset or fussy in the car. Stay calm and composed in these situations, pulling over if necessary to address any issues before continuing your journey.
Keep your eyes on the road
Resist the urge to turn around and look at your children while driving. Use your rearview mirror to check on them if necessary, but minimise the time spent looking away from the road.
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