Tips for Long Journeys with Kids

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Road trips with the family come with a new set of challenges but these can be managed if you plan well.

Frequent Breaks

Adults may endure long journeys without breaks but children will not. Plan into your route places to stop where you can all stretch your legs, use the toilet, have a drink or snack and some fun time. Take some bubbles to blow and get the kids running about but not in the car park! Older children might want to play the arcade games but do encourage all to have some fresh air as it helps to relieve car sickness.

Avoiding Motion Sickness

Young children are more susceptible to car sickness. It is caused by your eye and inner ear sending conflicting messages to your brain: one says you’re still and the other says you’re moving. Firstly, explain about car sickness to your children and teach them to tell you when they feel unwell as it’s always better to act on the warning signs. Until you are able to stop, ask them to look into the distance and focus on something far away. Open the windows and offer a dry cracker to settle the stomach. Stop as soon as you can and get out of your vehicle for a while ’til the nausea subsides.

Be Prepared

In case of sickness, leave a leak proof bag in the pocket on the back of the front seats and make sure everyone knows where to find it. Some say mints help with car sickness so it’s worth having a packet in the glove box. A small first aid kit is always good as you will be surprised how many bumps and scrapes can still happen when you’re on the move or at the stops. Stay on top of any mess with wet wipes and kitchen roll.

Snacks for the Journey

Be selective about what you bring as some are messier than others. Choose water bottles with sports tops that don’t spill instead of cartons of fruit juice with straws that squirt and spill. Fruit and cereal bars are fine choices as high sugar options can leaving you feeling like you have caged monkeys in the back instead of children. Make sure you have a place that everyone knows is for rubbish and empty it regularly.

Fun on the Way

Have a special bag for each child with their own travel goodies such as sticker/activity books, small toys, handheld games, magnetic jigsaw, etc. Post-it notes are great for drawing on and sticking around the car and masking tape is also more fun than you would expect for the same reasons. Both leave no sticky marks so you don’t have to worry if you’ve arrangedcheap car hire.

Have some wrapped toys/snacks for prizes in games such as I-spy, the alphabet game (spot letters of the alphabet on car number plates or road signs), car colour games (most red cars, most different colours, spot colours in order of rainbow, etc.) Games looking out of the window can help with motion sickness so start a game if you think the kids have been looking down too long at books or handheld games.

And if all else fails the portable DVD player is a very popular option these days but try not to start the journey with it or you’ll have a vehicle full of people not talking to each other.