Travelling long distances in the car can take its toll on even the most experienced drivers – add kids into the equation and it can present a whole new set of challenges. Whether you’re visiting family an hour or two away, or planning a road trip across Europe, taking long car journeys with kids can be a tricky endeavour. Luckily, there are simple things you can do to prepare for the journey ahead to make sure your kids are as comfortable and content as possible.
The most important factor is, of course, your child’s safety, no matter how far you’re travelling. So, with this in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of 15 things every car journey with a child should include, general advice on health and safety, and some top tips for keeping your child engaged (see below).
Whilst you want to keep your kids distracted during a car journey so they don’t get bored, you should also aim to provide them with entertainment that’s going to educate and stimulate them. Use this spare time they have in the car to learn something new – every day is a school day!
Your go-to item to give your child may be an iPad, laptop, or Gameboy, which is perfectly acceptable, but you should aim to keep their time on electronics limited. Child psychologists have discovered that too much time on these devices can lead to children segregating themselves which in turn can stunt their emotional development. Magnetic board games, books, comics, and hand held puzzles are all great examples of good old-fashioned fun that don’t need batteries to operate!
Make sure you’ve got some snacks and drinks so your child stays hydrated and their energy levels are stabilised. Think healthy treats, such as pieces of fruit, water, nuts, and seeds. The longer the journey, the more you will need to plan meals and breaks in advance. Therefore, it’s important you’re aware of where rest stops are located along your route so you can get something to eat and have a bathroom break.
To keep your car from getting messy, it’s always a good idea to have plastic bags for rubbish, wet wipes for any spills, and hand sanitiser to keep hands clean. You may also want to bring pillows and blankets so your child has the chance to get some sleep.
Take a look at our useful infographic below for a list of essentials, as well as some important tips on health and safety.
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