As the holiday season approaches our thoughts turn to that long, very long, journey with the kids in the car. Everyone has been hyped up for so long about the trip to the seaside. The promise of a long holiday stretches ahead.  But that’s in danger of getting off to the worst possible start when your normally well behaved and compliant children sprout little horns and forked tails as soon as they are strapped into their car seats. What not to do with the kids in the car? That is the question.

Of course, our OWO readers have this down pat, and every journey they take is textbook but for the rest of us here are a few timely tips.

A to B quick smart!

First thing to remember is that the journey is not about you. Any detour or pit stop must be for the kids’ benefit. Plan ahead and map the shortest route with the help of waze.

Just because you happen to be passing your old mate from uni’s new house that is sort of on the way, resist the urge to pop in and say Hi.  And there should be no navigating the B road network because someone does not like travelling on the motorway. Especially if the journey is a long one, it needs to be completed as fast as it can be (within the speed limit of course) with A to B accomplished by the quickest possible route and with the fewest possible stops. 

the cry of I’m bored
strikes fear into any parent.

Don’t underestimate car seat hunger

 You may well have fed and watered the little ones well before you left home but there is something about a car journey that sees little tums empty as fast as the petrol in the tank.

Long journeys are the time to pause the ‘no eating in the car’ rule. Have plenty of snacks on hand, preferably ones with the least potential to turn the interior of the car into a toxic waste dump.

Do not ignore threats of vomiting

It may be that your child is never normally car-sick and has a bladder with the tensile strength of steel but you ignore claims of feeling sick or needing a wee at your peril.

Sure, this could be a whiney kid ploy but it might not be and that toxic waste dump is not going to be improved by adding vomit or urine to it!

Do not assume that kids in the car will amuse themselves

The cry from the back seat of “I’m bored” strikes fear into the heart of any parent trying to navigate the gyratory system as their young’uns kick the back of their seat.  Worse still fights can break out and be distracting as you try to check for serious injuries in the rear view mirror!  There are any number of games that you can buy to keep the kids amused on a journey and there are plenty of old favourites too like I spy that can be employed to keep the little ones happy.  There is the temptation to go for the portable device babysitter but try to keep that for absolute emergencies because once deployed you will never be able to go back. Play their favourite music or story tapes too.  Make sure as well that you have a pillow and blanket for them to snuggle down with if the journey is going to be overnight or if you are setting out early in the morning. 

Don’t lose it!

That will only make matters worse.  Try to diffuse the situation and if they really are about to declare world war three, swap seats with one of them.  Remember though if a child is travelling in the front seat, the passenger air bag needs to be turned off.

Safety is everything

With an added word on safety we would remind you that you always need to make sure that the central locking is on.  Little ones like to explore and if they decide to find out what the open door handle does in the middle of a motorway – well nobody wants that! 

Your holiday is going to be great and there is no reason why the journey to and from it shouldn’t be part of the adventure too.  A few well thought out measures will make sure that everyone arrives at the destination calm and rested and ready to have a great time.

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