If you’ve got kids, then you’ll understand that things can get fractious when boredom sets in. From tears and tantrums to annoying their siblings, kids will find other things to occupy them if there isn’t anything to do. The bad news for parents is that this response to boredom can end up being amplified significantly on long and boring car journeys. Put it this way: if you’re bored on a car journey, then imagine what it’s like for your kids!
Here are four tactics that can help to ease boredom on long journeys, or even trick them into thinking that the journey is going quicker than it actually is.
Get everyone nice and comfortable
Clicking everyone into their chairs or booster seats isn’t going to cut it for long road trips. Fidgeting and discomfort can soon turn into agitation, then you’re only a quick argument away from a full-blown meltdown. Make sure there are plenty of cushions and soft things,
– packing a soft toy or two, in particular, is a good way to keep everyone happy. If seat belts are chafing, try grabbing some seat belt covers to prevent any further complaints. One top tip on cooler days is to whack the heating up to the point where it’s not too hot, but nice and cosy. Then, all you have to do is wait until the little ones are asleep! However, take caution that the driver doesn’t fall for this trick too…
Have a back-up plan
It’s all well and good strapping everyone in then loading up some movies on the travel DVD players, but what happens when the DVD finishes or the level is complete on their portable games console? This is where a few back-up toys and games can extend that sweet, sweet silence as they focus on something other than the length of the journey. Consider stowing some additional toys and games in the glove box for emergencies, or make it a ‘thing’ by suddenly revealing a cool new toy as a gift – this will certainly divert attention as Mum or Dad focus on the many hours still left.
Plan your stops
I need the toilet! If you don’t hear this phrase on any long road trip (in fact, any journey that involves a car), then something must be wrong! Kids’ bladders are smaller than ours, so rest stops need to be factored into even the shortest of road trips. Check out the motorway services available on the journey and plan to stop even if no one is ready for a visit yet – it’s better than having to sneak into the woods half an hour later when things get desperate.
The last thing you might want to do on a stressful journey is start chatting about Peppa Pig, but it’s actually surprising how quickly time goes when the conversation is flowing. Asking about school, friends, interests, or just chatting about what’s planned at the other end is an easy distraction that will make time feel like it’s going faster not just for them, but for you too.
We hope these tips help on your next long road trip, but even if they don’t, just appreciate spending time with everyone – even if one of them is screaming!