Traveling with children can be a nightmare, with sibling bickering, constant cries of ‘Muuum’ or ‘Daaad’, the dreaded ‘Are we nearly there yet?’ which is often accompanied by ‘I need a wee!’ or ‘I’m hungry!’ Long road trips do not have to be a trial and here are five trip tips to save your sanity:
Encourage hours of quiet attentiveness by getting some of the children’s favourite books in audio form. Download them to your phone, then link that to the car’s speaker system using Bluetooth. Once the story is underway, the children are sure to stop squabbling and start listening out for their favorite parts instead.
Avoid the threat of screaming tired children having meltdowns because you will not pay a small fortune for crisps and sweets from the motorway services, by taking everything they will need with you. Save battles by asking them to choose their favorite snacks and asking them to help you pack them. This way, they have not excuse for not wanting what you have brought for them!
If your personal vehicle is not terribly exciting, why not think about hiring a vehicle for the trip? While this might seem like an unnecessary expense, it can actually save you money in the long term. Not only will you have a new model car, it will be fully insured and all you will pay is the cost of the fuel and a modest fee. Should the car break down or suffer damage, you will not be without a car after your trip, which could impact your working life. Ask about child friendly options (www.intelligentcarleasing.com) and perhaps go for a model with a DVD player built into the backs of the front seat headrests so the children can watch their favorite films all the way to your destination.
Put a goodie box of clever toys in the car, under your supervision and allow the children to each try out one or two of these. Go for toys that are sufficiently challenging to keep them interested, but not so tricky that the children get bored, frustrated or angry. Rubik’s cubes, Bop-It and other games that require lengthy concentration are ideal.
Before you travel, work out on a map how long it will take and the route you will follow. Then you can sketch out a timeline for the children, perhaps giving them a list of landmarks to tick off as you pass them, or allowing them to switch activities at regular intervals – this could be when you reach certain town, or on the hour. This exercise is a useful way to teach children how to measure time and distance, and will hopefully fend off that dreaded ‘Are we nearly there yet?’!
Obviously, all children are different and you will have to adjust your plans to suit your offspring – for example, a child that suffers motion sickness would be better looking out of the rather than focusing on a toy in their lap. However you decide to put these tips into action, you will be glad you did. Read more at www.missfrugalmommy.com.