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Are we there yet? Top tips for driving with kids

Guest post by Tracey McBain from Lookers With a little planning and thought, nightmare family car trips can be a thing of the past

It’s every parent’s nightmare — there’s half of your journey left to go and the kids have reached the end of their tether. There’s already been three tantrums, and they’ve spent the last hour asking the dreaded question: “Are we there yet?” However, what if I could tell you there was another way? If you follow a few simple tips and tricks, you can take a lot of the stress out of car journeys with the kids. In this article, I’ve brought together three tips that will help you and your family enjoy hassle-free car journeys during staycations and days out for years to come. So, read on to find out how to keep your kids entertained on your next car journey.

Plan the trip together

If your children are excited about all the cool things that await them at the end of the journey, your time on the road is likely to go a lot smoother. So, get your kids involved in planning the outing. Sit down with a laptop or brochure and plan out the day or holiday. Make sure each child gets an equal say in the activities you’re going to be enjoying, and if the plans they come up with are a bit too ambitious, make sure to come to a compromise. The more your littles ones have to look forward to, the better they’re likely to behave. With this in mind, why not browse TripAdvisor with them and find a restaurant near your destination that they can get excited about eating at afterwards? If you pack the day full of fun-filled activities, it’s likely to go a lot smoother.

Make plenty of stops

If you want your car journey with the kids to go as smoothly as possibly, it’s important you plan plenty of stops. This is especially important if you’re going to be spending a long time on the road, as even the most relaxed kids are almost certain to get bored and restless after a few hours in the car. Ahead of the trip, trace your route on Google Maps and keep an eye out for any nearby parks or attractions you can stop off at to get some fresh air. Aim to take a short break every few hours, as well as an hour or so for lunch, to give your whole family a chance to freshen up and stretch your legs. This will make the journey longer, but it’ll help keep your kids calm throughout, making it well worth the time.

Learn plenty of travel games

When it comes to holidaying with children, it’s important to learn plenty of travel games. If you’ve always got a few reliable ways to entertain your kids to fall back on, you’ll never have to hear “are we there yet?” again. Your little one is probably a master at ‘I spy’, so that may not be enough to hold their attention for long on its own. Here’s some more ideas to help keep the fun going on your family road trip when the kids get bored:

20 questions

One player thinks of a person — real or fictional — and their opponents can ask up to 20 yes-or-no questions to figure out who that person is. If the guessers get the right answer, they win a point.

Two truths and a lie

Kids love finding out new things about their parents, which is why two truths and a lie makes such a great travel game. Tell your kids two truths about yourself and one lie: they win if they can work out which statement is false. Give them a chance to tell two truths and a lie and you might even find out something new about them.

The alphabet game

The alphabet game is about as simple as it gets. Start your journey looking for words beginning with the letter A. Your kids can scour billboards, road signs, shopfronts: anything you pass on your journey. Once they’ve found A, move on to B. The game ends when your kids complete the alphabet, so this one is sure to keep them entertained for hours.

Bring a travel kit

Last but not least, you should bring along a travel kit full of things to keep your kids happy during the journey. First, stock up on healthy snacks like fruit, nuts, and cereal bars. An empty stomach is often the true cause of a tantrum, and a quick snack can quickly put an end to it. Next, pack a bag full of entertainment. Tablets can be a great way of keeping your kids entertained for hours, but if you want to keep their screen time to a minimum, make sure you pack plenty of other forms of entertainment. Card games like Uno and Top Trumps are great to take along on long journeys, as are travel versions of classics like draughts and Ludo. Make up your travel kit with your little ones’ drawing supplies, a few new books, and their favourite toys and they’re sure to have enough to keep themselves entertained for hours.   If you’re planning on spending a lot of time on the road with your kids this summer, be sure to plan the trip with them, stop off plenty of times, and take plenty of food and entertainment along for the journey. Follow these tips and a chorus “are we there yet?” is sure to become a thing of the past.  


About the author

Tracey McBain from Lookers, one of the UK’s biggest car retailers.