Travelling Australia means spending a fair amount of time driving, there’s no way around it. This is what works with our tribe, and how best we survive road trips with kids. Well, most of the time….
Our kids are 7, 4 and 4 are generally good travellers. This is until someone looks out of someones window or someone touches someone else. And if that someone didn’t get enough sleep the night before, it’s WW3.
1. Let them run!
We try and give sufficient time for kids to play and run before we leave. Not always possible but when we don’t we pay for it.
2. Food: Pack a lunch box
Our kids love a packed lunch. Well all they really want are snacks. Ok to be honest they just want lollies. It’s all about the lollies. Looolllllies.
They ask for their lunch box the minute they get in the car. I try my best to hold them out at least half an hour.
I pack things like: sliced fruit, muesli bar, rice wheels / popcorn or chips, biscuits, cruskets, sandwiches.
I‘ve learnt to save the lollies and distribute them when the need arises. Bribery is life with kids and lollies are their currency. Works every time and can guarantee silence if necessary.
Everyone has their own water bottle. We keep extra cold drinks in the car fridge and icy poles in the car freezer. If I’m organised and we have a big drive ahead I’ll make sandwiches and put in car fridge for a quick lunch on the go.
Our trip distances are counted in the number of DVD’s that have to be watched to get there.
Before we left we installed a DVD player into the roof of the Jeep. We pick up cheap DVD’s on the go and bought a stack on E-bay before we left. The kids love the novelty of picking a DVD out to watch, they take it in turns.
Another option would be to download TV shows / movies to watch offline on your iPad or similar.
4. Colouring in books / pens
We have a pencil case each for the kids, with their own coloured markers. Washable markers for little ones is a must. We regularly pick up new colouring in books to keep things fresh and interesting.
I Spy with my little eye something the colour of…..so the little ones can participate. Count the number of caravans. How big is the road train? How many cows can you see? What colour are they? etc etc. These are good distraction for a few minutes.
The kids have iPads with age-appropriate games. Our 7yo has a number of educational apps on his ipad. A few of our favourites are ABC Mouse, Mathletics and Epic, he also likes puzzles and playing games. The girls like colouring in, shapes / counting games and the Duplo apps which can be played offline. The girls also love ABC Kids but but this requires data access, so it’s usually used for alone / quiet time in their bunks before bed when we have Wi- Fi access.
When all else fails:
It’s food and bribery always! Or you could put on a documentary to put them to sleep….
Another trick is turning off the A/C and opening the windows. This helps in two ways, firstly I can’t hear them and secondly the warm air makes them sleepy. Similar to what they do on a long-haul flight.
My husband just reminded me it’s the opposite when you’re at a conference. T and they make the room freezing, so you don’t fall asleep!
You know what works best for you and your kids to best survive road trips and no judgement from us.