Ah, car rides with young children. The stuff memories (and possibly nightmares) are made of. But it doesn’t have to be like that. In fact, some of the best fun you can have as a family is on the open road. Like so many things in parenting, it’s all about the prep work.
Here are five ways to keep the kids entertained in the car.
Car rides with my parents consisted of them chatting away in the front seat, pausing every now and then to point out a tree, or some roadkill. Not exactly thrilling if you’re the child, trust me. But car games are actually a great way to keep everyone happy. Sure, you might not want to play ‘eye spy with my little eye’ for the entire duration of the trip, but I’ve found that more often than not, my kids will keep playing the game amongst themselves once we hit the eject button after a few rounds.
If your little ones are a bit young for the traditional version of the game, you can always choose objects related to colour rather than letter, and there are some fantastic variations on the theme available online.
Another great car game for parents is the ‘add a sentence’ game where you, wait for it, all add a sentence on to a story. It doesn’t need to make sense, the sillier the better, so it’s not essential that you remain engaged 100 per cent of the time (you know, because you’ll be focusing on the road!)
Use what you’ve got available.
What a great time it is to have kids, because for parents, technology is our friend. Having a stash of DVD’s and a player in the car is a great way to keep the kids occupied when they’ve hit the ‘over it’ limit of driving.
"Because for parents, technology is our friend." Image: iStock.
I try and reserve special ones for the car so they’re not bored watching the same shows they would normally watch at home. If you’re lucky enough to have a DVD player in the car, it’s a great way to have a break yourself and pull over to watch a movie, or have a little snooze while the kids do.
If you’ve got a tablet in the family, you can also pre load it with educational-based games and activities to keep them entertained. Search the app store for age appropriate ones and let them loose.