Whether you're off for an adventure to a theme park or a long car journey to visit family, the chances are a road trip of some description is on the horizon for you and your little ones during the holiday.
Long car journeys aren't exactly ideal for keeping children entertained, especially if you're using a rental car that will not have all the latest entertainment technology the kids are used to using at home. Such trips are well known for bringing exhaustion and frustration upon all passengers if there are traffic delays. However, according to the BabyCenter, there are positive things you can do to avoid motorway meltdowns.
To help you plan ahead, make the most of your journey and keep the youngsters happy all at the same time, we've pulled together a few of the best tips for families this half term.
Before you head off anywhere in the car, you need to ensure that you are safe to do so - after all, keeping them entertained in a broken-down vehicle is going to be more of a challenge than when you're moving towards your destination. Before setting off, ensure your oil and screenwash are topped up, your lights are cleaned and operational and that your tyre pressures are at the recommended levels.
It is also a good idea to pack safety features like a first-aid kit, a torch (wind-up ones are good) in case a breakdown does occur, and a fully charged mobile phone. Breaking down on the motorway and then finding your phone has a flat battery is not a happy experience. If you are hiring a car, make note of the rental company's breakdown numbers in case you need them. As a responsible parent you'll know the importance of preparing for the drive ahead, so get plenty of sleep the night before to minimise tiredness during the drive. If you do feel tired when driving always pull into a service area for a walk around, a short nap and something to eat and drink.
Travelling can be made easier simply by preparing the children before you head off. You can do this by getting them involved in the planning - asking them which toys they would like to bring along or showing them a map of the journey they're about to make. These will not only help them to be well informed in terms of how many hours they will be in the car for, but it will also help them to build better tolerance for travelling in general.
In order to minimise stress during your journey, you should plan and pack for success. Make a mental note of where you plan to stop and study the route properly beforehand even if you plan to use a satnav. Take healthy snacks and drinks that your children like with you and keep it a secret until they complain of being bored or hungry. You'll be surprised how much time you can take up by offering treats and requesting a tidy-up during the halfway break.
The best way to travel with children is when they're sleeping, so it is worth considering their usual sleeping schedule and what time they tend to eat. Leave just before lunchtime and you'll be able to keep them occupied with food, or travel at night and you're likely to see them sleep through the whole journey.
Comfort breaks need to be accounted for when preparing a long journey with children. They break up the journey, allow for a little leg stretching and do a good job of wearing the children out in a short space of time.
Follow these tips and you're sure to enjoy a less stressful journey with plenty of fun and laughter along the way.