How to keep children happy in the car
Anyone who regularly drives with children in the car will tell you that these small back-seat passengers can send a driver’s stress levels through the roof. Bored children are disruptive children. Keep them happy and entertained in the car and you’ll be well on the way to a trouble-free journey.
Here are some ideas to help you keep them happy while you concentrate on driving:
Games are always a good way of stalling the inevitable question: “are we nearly there?”. Keep them occupied with a guessing game and they won’t notice the time as the miles fly by.
The old favourite ‘I spy’ is a good starting point. Some families vary this by making a list of things to be spotted – for example, a purple bicycle – and getting the children to tick them off during the journey. Or you can ask children to compile their own list once they start getting restless in the car.
Older children will probably be happy to play on their games consoles. You can avoid flat battery ‘angst’ by keeping a charger in the car.
Take a break
Regular breaks are important on a long journey. As well as refreshing the driver, they break the monotony of the journey for the children and give them a welcome chance to run off steam. With luck, younger children may fall asleep once they get back in the car.
It’s a good idea to involve children in planning the route you’ll be taking so they know when a break is coming up and can look out for signs.
Even if you’re taking a picnic or planning to eat at a service station, it’s a good idea to pack some tasty treats to eat in the car. Food is a great pacifier, and a snack or goody bag at the right moment can stop a back-seat riot in its tracks.
Alternatively, you can promise a sweet treat as a reward for good behaviour – a few crumbs in the back seat is a small price to pay for peace and quiet.
Most children love listening to music so take along a good selection of their favourite CDs. Encouraging them to sing along will take their minds off the miles and create a feelgood atmosphere in the car.
Talking books can be equally effective. These can be hired from your local library, where you can look for a story they haven’t heard before.
Remember, too, that the old stand-bys like puzzle and colouring books can be just as diverting as electronic gadgetry. For some children, there’s nothing to beat the magic of a new colouring-in book and a pristine set of crayons.
One of the key factors in making your journey stress-free is preparation. When children are your passengers, planning is essential: making sure they are happy travellers will give you a head start in achieving a calm and enjoyable journey.
In the same way, ensuring you have adequate car insurance cover will give you peace of mind before any trip.