Less is more
Before taking a road trip with children, parents should plan their route in detail. In order to help everyone remain relaxed, try to avoid travelling further than 500 km in one day. You will be able to keep the children occupied over such a distance, without wishing you had never left home. Taking breaks at rest stops with playgrounds is a must.
At the right place, at the right time
If at all possible, try to avoid long journeys at the beginning or end of school holidays. Traffic jams are annoying, but bored children in the back seat can quickly turn into the ultimate test of your nerves. Better to plan a relaxed extra day of holiday at home to avoid the traffic.
Leave earlier, arrive sooner
Try to leave before dawn. The kids will still be tired, and they are likely to sleep peacefully for a good stretch, while the parents can make good progress on empty streets. Works like a charm. And with small children you can take similar advantage of their afternoon nap.
Hungry kids are difficult kids. Luckily, the opposite is also true, and you can easily bribe your kids into submission with a little food. It is important to plan for mealtime breaks, and to also pack some snack foods. Usually, lots of cut fruits and vegetables will work well, but don’t forget some cookies and sweets for those critical moments!
Don’t even ask your children if they need to go to the toilet during a break – just send them. To be on the safe side, parents should pack a change of clothes for each child in an easy-to-access bag. That can also come in handy if the weather gets warmer or colder than expected.
Driving time is playing time
Children stay calm when they have something to do. Basic equipment for keeping them occupied includes: paper, coloured pencils (no markers, protect your leather!), colouring and picture books. If their mood starts to sour, parents will have to think of something like songs, stories or games. Why not count all the BMW cars that you see on the highway? You can even turn on your SatNav. Many models include voices from cartoons that kids find hilarious!
When all else fails, try a gadget
No television, no tablet, no smart phone. It’s a nice idea that can help families bond. For a few hours, at least. But at some point, many parents will resort to some kind of gadget, and that’s okay. Many family-friendly mobile apps deliver films, series and audio books directly to the kids in your car. And audio books often last for hours …