Every mom has been there. You would rather scratch in the cupboard for a throw-together dinner than dare takes that dreaded car drive down to the store with all kids on board. Or the anxiety leading up to going on holiday, involving a 3-hour car drive with kids screaming and your husband playing his music a little too loud. It is almost not worth it.
There is really nothing worse than being stuck on a highway in a car which you wish you could just jump out of. Taking young children in the car can be incredibly stressful. There isn’t much you can do from behind the wheel to prevent fighting, tantrums, and meltdowns, but there are ways to prepare for your car ride beforehand.
It really isn’t the kids’ faults either. They are stuck in a boring car with boring surroundings and possible even more boring music. The key is to keep them entertained and happy, and this is easier than you think.
There are a few essential items to always take with on a car ride. Kids are easy to distract – take advantage of this! Always have an arsenal ready before you leave, and you should be able to avoid the hell that is a drive with unruly kids.
- Always have snacks! Nothing keeps kids happier than having a few tasty treats and a full tummy. Now, remember, that these snacks should have minimal sugar. The last thing you want to do is hype up your children and then have crazy animals in the back seat. Try some cheese straws or dried fruit.
- Keep an iPad handy. Whether you are a fan of iOS or Android – anything will do. Install some kid’s games on the tablet, or even download some movies. Ensure that child lock is on and that they cannot access any sites or content that they shouldn’t as you won’t be able to supervise while driving. Get them to play some educational games during the drive. Not only is this a handy distraction, but a fantastic way to work some education into your trip as well. Why not have them research the place you are traveling to, and see who can come up with the most interesting facts.
- Good old I-spy. Nothing can really beat the old family games. I-spy is the perfect way to include all members in the car and keeps their brains active. By playing this game, you are keeping their imagination alive and exposing them to words and objects they may not have known before. It is also ensuring that the old-fashioned games are carried on in future generations.
- Plan around nap time. This might seem like a cop-out, but leaving just before nap time is a very good way to be sure your kids will fall asleep during the drive. It saves you having to come up with games for them to play, and affords you some much needed, much sought after, peace and quiet.
- If all else fails, resort to bribery. This is for the desperate mom and should be a last resort. Tell the kids that if they behave well, they can pick out a treat from the store, or they can stay up 15 minutes later while on holiday. They have super strong wills, and will usually behave in order to get what they want. They are more than capable of behaving when they want to!
- Get dad to drive. If you don’t mind the backseat, hopping in the back with the kids can offer some entertainment for them. Sit between them to stop any bickering and keep them engaged in conversation. You could even take turns at coming up with new stories and fairy tales. Why not play a game where you each have a turn of adding a new sentence to a story and keep going around until you have a full tale on your hand.
Just be creative. You know your children and you know their triggers. Avoid anything that might set them off and try and keep them entertained. A long car drive can be a great way to talk to your children and to keep in touch with one another after such busy days. The car ride can be really boring for them, so acting out might be the only way to handle it. They just need a little attention and distraction – it will work wonders!