Posted on behalf of Zayaan Schroeder who is a mother to two kids and is passionate about making their childhood memorable and happy. She has been a parenting journalist for 10 years and also runs a parenting blog called Surviving the Madness dedicated to making things easier for moms. You can follow her on Instagram www.instagram.com/survivingmadness
Our kids have worked hard all year and finally school is out for the summer! Hear the relieved sighs of teachers everywhere. If you’re packing up the kids and taking them on a road trip for your end of year holiday, you might be questioning your sanity right now as you contemplate a 6 hour drive with humans who have low attention spans. But have no fear, here are six tips to help you survive the constant whine of “Are we there yet?”
1. Pit stops
The journey is part of the holiday and the adventure. If you present this mindset to your kids they might not even bother with asking if you are there yet. When you have kids you might want to get there as quickly as possible but making regular pit stops helps everyone’s mood. Everyone gets a chance to stretch their legs, relieve themselves and maybe even take in a sight or two.
Before you head off on your road trip, pick some farmstalls, garages or interesting spots along the way to stop at. Ideally you should stop every 2 – 3 hours for at least 15 minutes. Especially if you’re travelling with a baby who likely wants a break from the car seat.
While you may have eaten a meal at one of your pit stops it’s always a good idea to have snacks on hand. This can easily distract a child for at least 10 minutes given the complexity of the snack. Good things to have on hand are: water bottles, dried mango, small bags of chips, lollipops, carrot sticks, sweeties. Have a mix of healthy and sugary treats, your kids are on holiday after all.
Lollipops can only distract a child for so long though. If your child is still in a car seat, Hauck’s Play On Me play table is a great investment for road trips. It’s quick and easy to put on and remove (you know, when making those pit stops) and is softly padded making it comfortable for your child on the long road. The raised edges ensure that the toys and games don’t fall off and the best part is the pockets! The left side has a big zip-fastening pocket and the right side has two smaller net pockets, this means your kid’s toys are not littering the back seat.
Now that you have your Play On Me play mat, what kinds of things should you bring along to combat the boredom once they have gotten over looking at all the cows and sheep and the endless farm lands? A good idea is to get a small backpack for each kid and have them fill it up with their favourite toys. You can also get some new colouring or activity books to surprise them.
5. Kids’ Songs Playlist
I’ve made my kids a playlist of all their favourite songs on Spotify and downloaded it over our home WiFi before taking a trip. Whatever your kids’ favourite TV show is you’d be surprised that they actually have albums on Spotify. I for one was very surprised that Hey Duggee has not one but two albums. Who would’ve thought? So from Storybots, Moana and Frozen to Cats and Camilla Cabello (don’t ask) it’s all on there. The kids love a good carpool karaoke.
And when it’s all getting a bit too much and everyone just needs to calm down a bit, put on an audiobook. There are lots of children’s books that are available as audiobooks. If your kids are into Cressida Cowell’s How To Train Your Dragon series then you’re in for a treat because the Tenth Doctor himself, David Tennant, narrates that series and if you have Harry Potter fans then you have the luck of having Stephen Fry read to you. If you have a younger crowd in the car then Roald Dahl’s The Enormous Crocodile and Other Stories is a fun read to get you to your destination.