As any parent knows, taking the family for a trip in the car can often be a stressful situation. Children seldom appreciating sitting still for too long so, in addition to trying to prepare everything and ensuring nothing gets left behind, you often have to deal with aggravated and restless children.
Wear The Kids Out
One of the biggest problems when travelling as a family is that kids get restless. This isn’t helped by the fact that sweets and sugary drinks make for effective bribes, even when they don’t last too long. This is all results in children full of energy and no way to unleash it.
Prepare longer bathroom breaks into your trip so that you can allow and expect your children to stretch their legs and run about. You should also stop on a regular basis, such as every 90-120 minutes. Similarly, you can also time the start of your trip later in the day, or even at night. This way, younger family members are likely to fall asleep, allowing you to drive in peace.
Efficient Trip Planning
Furthermore, a lot can be said for planning your trips more effectively. There are a number of factors to consider here, from potential toilet breaks to avoiding heavy traffic. Depending on your trip, highways might be unavoidable, but sometimes it is better to take a slightly longer route with less traffic (away from the main roads) for a smoother ride. Traffic jams only cause stress, which can easily spread among the car’s occupants.
Children often get bored easily and few places lack stimulation than the inside of a vehicle. However, technology has come a long way in the last couple of decades, and there are more than a few ways to entertain children. At the most simplest level, you can use your radio or music player. If you invest in something interactive, such as with Bluetooth technology, you can give control to other people in the car. This way, you can focus on driving and the other family members can take care of the music.
However, if you want something more modern, it’s actually quite easy to install rear-seat monitors and dvd players. These sit on the back of the front seats, offering monitors (typically with headphones) for younger children to watch. This is a great way to keep kids quiet and happy, but it helps to be a lit cunning and pick something you know they will want to watch (or haven’t seen yet) ahead of any long journeys. Without this technology, you’re stuck playing road trip games, which will often bore today’s children rather quickly.
Ensuring A Smooth Ride
A smooth ride can make all the difference. While your children might not say so, the bumps and rumblings of the road do cause discomfort, which likely adds to a child’s irritation and frustration. While you can’t do anything about the road itself, you can ensure the quality of your own car.
Your suspension should be checked regularly but, more importantly, so should your wheels. The right tyre pressure, for instance, is crucial. If there’s too little, the car will be uncomfortable and, likewise, an imbalance in pressure will cause the car to handle unfavourable. You can test the pressure with various sensors, or just use a coin and push it into the tread. Push a penny into the tyre – the rubber tread should cover part of Lincoln’s head. If not, consider inflating your tyres before you drive out.
Finally, you will often be surprised how many journeys end up by the roadside looking for spare clothes or towels in bags of luggage. Children are messy and unexpected incidents, such as spilled drinks, can happen. As such, you should keep an assortment of useful items in your car – including drinks, food, spare clothes and a towel or blanket – to account for these situations. This way, there’s no sudden panic when you need to remember which bag you packed something away in.
Whether you’re driving to a relative’s or driving to the airport for your vacation, no trip is ever stress-free when children are involved. Yet, if you address their needs and accommodate these in advance, the journey can be much calmer and happier as a whole.