Children are a bundle of energy and curiosity, which can make long road trips incredibly tedious for some of them. Imagine being stuck in a seat, on a seemingly never ending journey with nothing to do for hours. Long road trips can be a test of patience for parents, especially those with young children.!
Let’s see how you can make your journey with the family during this holiday season, a fun one and one to look forward to.
Plan your journey
A road trip doesn’t have to be a whole lot of nothing with one single destination at the end. There are always things to see along the way, just off the highways and major towns. Do a quick search on the internet for places of interest along your route to break up the journey.
Plan your journey to include regular stops for food, toilet, or just to visit recreational parks and historical sites to give your children the chance to run around and experience new things.
Even better, get your children involved in planning and ask them what they would like to see. This helps them get invested in the journey, familiarise themselves with the distances and destinations that they will be traveling. Also, you might be surprised at what suggestions they might have!
Ready some games and toys
Electronic devices may be a “quick fix” to keep your child occupied during the trip, however, as tempting as that might sound, it may develop into a bad habit for children and parents alike.
Instead, playing visual and verbal family games like “I spy with my little eye” encourages children to be aware of their surroundings and presents opportunities for them to observe and about the world around them; spotting animals, trees, cars, trucks, the weather and more.
Packing their favourite toys also helps children maintain a sense of familiarity as they are traveling. Their favourite soft toys, action figures, Magna Doodle, and even a set of Lego Duplos will definitely keep their minds off the journey.
Here’s a sneaky one. Instead of giving your children toys and games at the start of the journey, keep the toys hidden and activities lined up for when they start getting restless. With all these tricks up your sleeves, your journey will be less stressful and enjoyable for everyone.
Load up on audio books and music
The infotainment systems in most modern family vehicles can open a whole new world of amenities to traveling families. Not only are you less likely to get lost, you can now have access to a whole world of wholesome content for the family.
A lot of children’s books are now available in audio format that can be played from or streamed through the vehicle’s infotainment system. Plan a storytime along the way with their favourite stories and books, while you get on with driving.
Likewise, you can also load your children’s favourite songs and some popular sing-along-songs into the infotainment system to make every moment of the journey a fun and exciting one.
Beating motion sickness
Children who are new to traveling are likely to experience motion sickness. Packing some motion sickness medication always helps, though there are a number of ways to help children get used to traveling.
First off, motion sickness can be attributed to a bad diet. Greasy snacks are not only unhealthy for young children, but it also makes them sensitive to motions that cause motion sickness.
Plain snacks like dry crackers and ginger ale are great at helping children keep a calm head and stomach. It is also ideal to condition your children’s stomach with plain food before, and during every journey.
Motion sickness is also caused by the mind’s inability to cope with the vehicle’s movements. This is especially true when they are focusing on a near object like a book or a toy. To alleviate any build up of motion sickness, get them engaged with the world outside by pointing out landmarks or the countryside where they can take their focus and minds further out.
Don’t travel at night
If children are restless when traveling, then the best time to travel is when they aren’t, which is at night. That line of thought is certainly tempting, but it is highly not recommended by seasoned travellers.
Night driving is highly risky as there is limited visibility with an ever present danger of getting into an accident from inattentive driving or encounters with the wildlife. Furthermore, you will arrive at your destination tired out, while your children will be refreshed and energetic for the day ahead.
Instead, parents should plan their journeys around their children’s sleep schedule. Starting your journey early in the morning before the crack of dawn will allow you to get to a new destination before they wake up. Likewise, starting a few hours before their bedtime, also helps them settle in and doze off for most of the journey.
Travelling with children doesn’t have to be a chore. Like many things in life, it can be an adventure. Rather than a means to get to a destination, with the right preparation, it can be fun and wholesome quality time spent with the family.