5 tips for keeping kids happy in the car

Parents often ask how they can best occupy their kids when travelling. Any parent will know that keeping your little darlings quiet and content for even a few minutes can be somewhat of a challenge – never mind for hours on end, strapped inside a moving vehicle! You’ll be pleased to know that there are things you can do to make peace and quiet achievable. Whilst they may not work every time for every child, here are a few useful tips for travelling with children:


  1. Games & Clipboards


Games are great for occupying their minds, particularly if you’re travelling with multiple children. Even traditional games such as ‘I spy’ can bring out a competitive edge in children, killing up to an hour of your journey. Have them keep score and they’ll play for longer in an attempt to beat their opponent. Provide the children with a clipboard or hard-backed notepad and they can play games such as hangman and noughts and crosses. Colouring books are another good way for them to pass the time.


  1. Multimedia Devices


Whilst you might not want your child gazing at an iPad for the entire journey, it will certainly keep them occupied for a while, so it’s worth letting them have some screen time if you’re making a particularly long journey. You could always download an educational movie or app if you want their minds to be engaged. Invest in some child-friendly headphones so that you don’t have to listen to the constant sound effects as background noise. If you have an older child and a shared taste in music, you could have them help you to create a playlist or CD for your journey.


  1. Pack healthy snacks


To avoid a soundtrack of ‘I’m hungry’ and expensive service station stop-offs, pack the kids a goody bag before you go. Make sure the snacks included are nutritious and don’t include food that will stain or leave sticky fingers (always pack wet wipes just in case). Sandwiches and fruit pots are good options, along with a bottle of water or fruit smoothies. Leave out fizzy drinks that may result in spillages and anything with e-numbers. Chocolate is likely to melt and become sticky, so rewarding their good behaviour with a fresh bar at the service station may be an option.


  1. Get them involved


Young children can often become agitated on long journeys because they don’t feel that they know what’s going on. Before your trip, explain to your child where you are going. Is it to visit Grandma and play with their cousins? To the seaside to build a sandcastle? Or to the zoo to see the lions? If they know there is something to look forward to, it is likely that they will demonstrate better behaviour. It might be helpful to show them on a map that you will be travelling a long way to avoid a chorus of ‘are we there yet?’ half an hour into your journey.


  1. Make regular stops

Making regular stops so that children can stretch their legs, as well as use the toilet, will help to prevent them from becoming agitated. If possible, stop somewhere with space for them to run around and burn off some of that excess energy – they’ll be more likely to sit quietly upon your return to the car.