How to keep children occupied during a long car journey
Modern in-car multimedia entertainment systems give children access to the same sorts of backseat delights that you’d expect on a long haul flight. However, while plugging kids into a drip-feed of movies and games might keep them quiet, there can be more to be gained from the experience of going on a long car journey.
Every parent knows that a long car journey can be miserable for all concerned if youngsters are not kept happy. Wailing, arguing and fighting from the back of the car can drive you to distraction. But there are many things you can do to make your journey not only bearable, but fun as well.
Kids like to be involved in what is going on around them and that applies to car journeys too. Discovering new things is what childhood is all about, so why not use play as a way to make kids feel like they’re part of an exciting expedition?
Forget ‘I spy’ – car bingo is far more fun. Before you leave home, spend some time with the children designing and making bingo cards. Instead of numbers, draw pictures and write the names of things that you’ll see on the way. The first to spot every item on their card shouts, ‘Bingo!’
Make a stop
The longer the children spend in the car, the more likely they are to get bored and grumpy. So be sure to schedule in stops along the route and let the kids know when you’ll be taking a break.
The UK is full of interesting things to see and do. A little bit of research before setting off could make all the difference to a long car trip. A short detour to visit a castle, for example, will give young ones something to look forward to.
Be careful when it comes to handing out sweet treats during the journey. Sugary snacks may buy you temporary respite from complaining children but you could pay a heavy price later. Sweets and fizzy drinks are soon guzzled, and the rush of calories can make kids restless and bad-tempered.
Try freezing bottles of fruit juice before you leave. Children will enjoy sipping at the melted juice, which will help to keep them topped up with fluids.
Packing lots of healthy fruit is also a good idea. Treat kids to a taste of the tropics by including unusual items like star fruit to tantalise their taste buds.
Audio books are widely available either as downloads or on CD, but nothing soothes like the sound of mum or dad reading a story. Why not record yourselves reading some of your children’s favourite tales so you can play them in the car?
Alternatively, encourage children to come up with their own fairy-tales. Just start a story off and let children take turns to add the next part of the fable.Contented children can help towards a hassle-free trip. Adequate car insurance can also give you peace of mind, so you that if there’s a problem, you’re covered.
Liam Williams writes for the Sainsbury’s Finance Money Matters blog. In his spare time he enjoys motoring and organic gardening.
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