As a new parent, it’s inevitable that you’ll embark on the odd roadtrip (or sixteen!) with your brood. Quite simply, the easiest method of transport to use when you have children and all their associated gubbins is car, preferably one with a massive boot for all the things you need to cart around when you have kids.
Whether you’re contemplating a drive across country for some British seaside sun, or are journeying further afield for an across-sea adventure, these tips are for you.
Withhold the good stuff
You should definitely take iPads/tablets with you where you can – we’ve recently fallen in love with Amazon’s Fire for kids – but don’t give up the electronic crack too soon. I prolong our journey as much as I can before the tablets come out, that way they don’t get bored with them. Oh, and make sure they’re charged and that you have chargers with you for those vitals low-power emergencies.
Bring favourite foods
Car journeys are made for snacks. Ain’t nobody got time for whiney, hungry children… trips aren’t the time to worry about getting their five a day in before midday.
Saying that, I like to pack a mixture of healthy and treat food, offering carrot sticks and cut-up apple first before the Wotsits and Haribo make an appearance.
Have a roadworthy car
This one’s a no-brainer. If you’ve got kids in the car you want to minimise any chances of breakdowns: waiting by the side of the road with little people in tow is no fun (been there, done that). Check things like your tyre pressure and oil level, and make sure your car’s had a recent service.
And of course, it goes without saying that you should make sure your tax and car insurance are up to date.
Sync your journey to their routines
Where possible, do the longest leg of your journey at the time your child would normally nap. Or, if you’ve got older kids who no longer snooze, try to drive as close to their bedtime as possible. This way they won’t be losing sleep the following evening. The only thing worse than whiny road trips? Next-day nap time grumpiness!
Break up your journey
Long car rides can drive even the most tolerant parents insane. Break up your journey where you can, whether that’s lunch in a nice pub off the motorway or toilet breaks in a service station. My children go nuts for a good old M&S car picnic: we stop off to choose our lunch then it’s a real treat to eat it in the car!
How do you make car journeys with kids easier to handle?