How to Handle Long Car Journeys With Kids

Camper van loaded for a road trip.

Many of us here at ClickMechanic have youngsters in the back seat. Long drives can be a nightmare as there are very few ways to keep a child contained in their seat for hours. Sure you can leave them with an iPad but kids will quickly become bored of that, especially if all you have is Solitaire. So we put together a quick list of do’s and don’ts to help make your journey peaceful one.

Here’s some things to avoid:

– Tapping the brakes. This puts you at risk of another vehicle rear-ending you, which can lead to serious injury.

– Turning up the radio. This can leave you ignorant of any medical emergencies in the back.

– Shouting at or hitting them. Being aggressive can leave serious mental scars on children.

– Playing audiobooks. These can be a mind-numbing slog for most children, along with classical music that you may love to play whilst driving.

Alternatively, try these methods:

– Silent time earns play time. This may frustrate your children but it can also earn 5 minutes of precious silence you need.

– Inspire creativity. This doesn’t have to mean getting the paints out, there are plenty of apps or games that can have your kids sculpting or painting whilst you drive. You can even offer to print out their creations when you get home.

– Have movies, games or books only for the car. The kids will look forward to being in the car as they have things to do that they can’t do at home. This might require some extra planning as you may have to pick up books from the libraries regularly or prepare specific activities for them.

– Play games with the kids. For suggestions on what to play, check out this article.

– Set your expectations before the trip. Talk to them about how to get your attention the right way and what level of noise is okay.

– Make sure you enforce your rules with punishments. Taking away electrics usually works well.

– Take regular breaks. Plan breaks into your journey and give the kids (and adults!) the chance to get out of the car every few hours.

– Family Radio. Cars are becoming increasingly connected and (depending on your car) you can play songs from your phone or tablet through the in-car radio. You might hear moans when someone decides to play Frozen for the 100th time, but you’ll just have to let it go.

– Turn your children into bloggers. Get them to document your holidays, embellishing photos however they like and creating stories about the journey. Set a challenge for them to create a mini movie about the holiday.

– A deck of cards may be a bit old school but you should learn plenty of different games using them. Snap will last until someone hurts their hand, but there are plenty of simple games for kids and cards.

With all these tips, you should be able to go off on those cross country road trips to visit family or just get to a nice beach. It’s important for everyone’s wellbeing that kids are kept entertained and engaged.