Today I have a guest post from Sainsbury’s on traveling with children. This is one of the areas where my opinion has definitely changed since I had children. Before I would say I would never have a DVD player or lots of treats for the children. Now I know how stressful it is and how you will do almost anything to have a peaceful journey.
Most parents start a family trip away hoping for fun quality time with the children, but when there’s a long journey involved, things can all too often become fraught before you even arrive.
You can stop this by taking control and setting out your game plan in advance. Making sure you have adequate car insurance cover is one way to take the stress out of your journey. Here are some more tips to help ensure that your family road trip is a peaceful one.
Map It Out
Don’t leave all the decisions to the driver or sat nav. Pore over maps together – choose a route that works for everyone and that allows for some adventure en-route if at all possible. Even if you have to be there at a set time, by leaving a little earlier you can still enjoy the journey and meander around on the way. Give the kids copies of a map so they can track the journey as it unfolds – great for their geography skills.
It might seem defeatist to think about stopping before you even set off, but if you don’t factor this in and your children need a toilet break sooner than anticipated, your schedule could go all to pot. Time-consuming, unscheduled stops can bring on stress and tension, the very things we don’t want when we are on holiday. Allow for plenty of breaks at regular intervals; roughly every two hours at most. That way, when it’s time to stop, you can relax and enjoy the break, rather than fretting over your watch.
If you’ve got little ones, think about bringing a training potty along for those emergency moments. And a change of clothes!
While you are stopped, get the kids moving. If possible, plan to take a stop at a service station with a playroom or good outside play area. Pack a ball and have a kick-around. Rest breaks are not the the best time to make the kids sit for half an hour at a restaurant table – they’ve been sitting still long enough!
As well as packing a few favourite games for your kids to play along the way, go online and print off some suggestions for games the whole family can play. Interspersing the journey with a communal game will break up the monotony and help to emphasise that you are all in this together.
Have books, toys and drawing materials. These really come into their own on a long journey, when your child has endless hours of sitting still to get through.
Don’t just let them snooze – encourage them. A few hours’ kip can make the journey fly by much faster.
Make sure there’s plenty of it. Keep the kids well-fed, but not with greasy junk food that could bring on a bout of car sickness. Think dry, natural and healthy, with a spattering of small, richer treats thrown in along the way. Agree in advance what to eat and when, so the kids will know what time the next meal is coming. Within reason, if they want a small something now, let them have it.
Travelling with children doesn’t have to be difficult. With a little planning your holiday could get off to a flying start!
Disclosure: This is a guest post from Sainsburys