Kids are great fun, but on long journeys, being stuck in what is effectively a tin can for hours on end is anything but fun. The fact that everyone is forced to be in close proximity means tempers often flare.
Most of the time the cause of the friction is the fact that everyone is a bit bored, and is not completely comfortable. If you are planning a long journey, following these tips will help you to keep your children occupied, and, therefore, happier.
Do not just rely on the electronics
As modern parents, we tend to rely very heavily on technology to keep our children happy. There is no harm in letting them take their tablets to play games on and watch movies. You just need to make sure everyone has a full battery and ear buds before you pull off the drive you should be good for a few hours.
However, it is important to realize that after a few hours of playing or watching your children are going to become bored. They may be reluctant to leave their games console when it is time for dinner at home, but they will normally not feel the same when you let them play for as long as they want. Therefore, it is important to have other things available for your children to do in the car.
Puzzle books and other games
Surprisingly a long car journey is the ideal chance to get your kids to read more. Many children do not really get into books because they are too busy flitting from one thing to another. In the car, they do not have the freedom to do this, so try giving them a book to read during the journey. You will be pleasantly surprised at how often they become absorbed in the story, and get used to reading.
Puzzle books are good too. Crosswords, logic puzzles and simple Sudoku books work surprisingly well. They can easily be picked up and used for a few minutes. There are some great printable puzzles available on this website, which you can download and print out free of charge.
Games like iSpy that involve everyone in the car are a great way to break the ice and improve the atmosphere if tensions are running high. A long road trip is a great opportunity to teach the kids their road signs, and do it in a fun way. You can award points for everyone spotted, and check their understanding of each one as you pass them.
My last tip for keeping the kids happy in the car is to be realistic about how big their bladders are and how patient they can be. If your kids know that you will be stopping every two hours, they will be less likely to pester you to stop every five minutes, which means there will be less tension in the car. It is a good idea to have drinks available in the car just in case you are stuck in traffic, but it is better not to let your children drink more than they really need to on a long journey.