Surviving holiday family journeys

By Wright Communications

Are you looking forward to that family summer holiday? Of course you are, but are you looking forward to the road trip to get to your favourite beach, bach, campground, crib or lakeside retreat – with the kids? Yeah – Nah.

Parenting Place together with Toyota New Zealand has come up with a series of strategies to help keep kids of all ages entertained and hopefully stop the outbreak of World War 3 in the back seat which makes for a more pleasant road journey for all.

Different age groups will definitely require varying strategies, with perhaps more planning needed for younger travellers due to their ability to become bored more quickly, but for any age planning ahead is vital.

For toddlers who still have a regular daily nap, consider embarking on the trip at the start of their nap time, which will allow them to drop off and should lessen the chances of an overtired toddler resulting in grumpy behaviour.

Younger travellers need regular stops to get out of the car, run around and stretch their legs. Plan these pit stops ahead, and keep the kids informed of when the next stop will be. This will also allow the driver who just wants to get there know exactly what’s coming up and allow them to plan the timing of the road trip.

Perhaps have a ball or frisbee for a quick game at the planned picnic break, a perfect way to tire them out so hopefully they will have a sleep on the second leg of the trip.

While the car’s air conditioning might keep everybody cool, it will also contribute to everyone getting thirsty. Make sure you take sufficient water in separate bottles for everybody for the expected length of the trip.

Non-sticky and non-crumbly snacks of healthy food – cheese, in-season fruit, rice crackers or similar - are also a great idea.

If you don’t know whether the little travellers are prone to car sickness or not, take an extra change of clothes in a carry bag, along with the necessary wipes to deal with the effects. Empty ice cream containers will never go amiss either.

Some kids will quite happily spend their time using activity or colouring in books to pass the time. TV trays provide the perfect flat surface for this. Maybe you can borrow granny’s one! So, you don’t end up with pen marks on the seats, it is best to only take a good supply of pencils to preserve the car’s upholstery.

If there is room, put a plastic container on the seat between the potential combatants. Fill it with all the things they love to keep them occupied so they can easily access everything.

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