Logging long distances with children in the car can be exhausting. Keep the kids happy on your next adventure with these 35 tips... as voted by parents.
What to pack for a happy car trip
- Pack a bag filled with colouring books, stickers, crayons and magnetic board games.
- Organise a hefty stash of healthy food. Boxes of sultanas are great for tiny tots. Bananas and apples are also great low GI options to keep 'hangry' behaviour at bay.
- Take a picnic rug. When you've been travelling for hours, it's great to pile out of the car at a scenic location, kick back with a view and have a break.
- Tuck a few sweet treats (read:bribes) into the glovebox, to be handed out as necessary.
- Pack your child's favourite stuffed animal or blanket along for snuggling.
- Bring a barf bag. Just in case.
- Inflatable neck cushions make dozing more comfortable.
Useful road trip hacks
- Children who suffer from motion sickness should avoid looking at devices while the car is moving. Stop as often as you can to stretch the legs and get some fresh air. Sucking on a mint lolly or wearing a motion sickness bracelet can also help.
- Play old school car games such as I Spy with My Little Eye.
- Create your own version of Spotto where one person gets to choose the thing to “spotto” (such as a yellow car or stop sign).
- Give your children a camera to document the trip and inspire them to explore.
- Give them Crayola Washable Window Markers to get creative.
- Seek out and pull up at an orchard where the kids can pick fruit while the driver has a hit of caffeine.
Use travel time to connect with your kids
- Engage in some car karaoke with classics such as Sounds of Then (This is Australia) by GANG gajang, Solid Rock by Goanna, Great Southern Land by Icehouse and Beds are Burning by Midnight Oil.
- When you do stop for a break, make it fun for the children. Ask Siri to "Find Nearest Playground" so the children can run around while the driver rests.
- Draw up bingo cards and checkoff squares of the things you are likely to see while on the road - such as traffic lights, bridges and black cockatoo (bonus points).
- Plan to do something fun a teach new destination - whether it's playing a game of Frisbee golf (free) or going for a swim. Use these stops as motivation for your children to behave like model passengers.
- Play “remember the time when”about your last holiday. If it includes the time Dad's shortcut took you into a leech-infested jungle, even better.
Use technology to your advantage
- If ever there was a time to let your child binge on screens, it's when you're glued to the highway. Before you deploy a device, make sure it's loaded with creative apps.
- Download Drawing Pad on the iPad so children can create digital masterpieces.
- If you have miles of open road ahead, download podcasts the whole family will enjoy such as Sleek Geeks with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Adam Spencer.
- Audio books are great for when the children want to zone out. Subscribe to Tales to Go for a year and have a library at your fingertips.
- Put your mobile phone in the cradle and plug in the location. When they ask 'How much further?' point to the app's ETA.
- Let the children take turns playing DJ as they are more likely to happily while away the hours if they enjoy the tunes.
Find learning opportunities while on the road
- Encourage your children to write about their travels in a journal.
- Take scissors and glue and cut up tickets, pamphlets, brochures that tell of their travels.
- Prepare in advance! Roll out the riddles, maths questions, spelling words and science quizzes.
- Bring along eco bags, reusable plates and cups and talk to your children about minimising waste.
- Encourage your children to send postcards to family. This helps them remember details about what they have experienced to write about in their journals.
- Stock up on books.
Strategies to keep your kids' behaviour in check
- Let your children plot your course on a map and mark treasures ahead so they receive rewards for good behaviour.
- Give each of your children a set of headphones so the child obsessed with that annoying soundtrack can listen to it without the chorus of groans from the family.
- The winner of the Best Behaved Passenger Award gets to choose the next treat.
- Give your children $10 worth of $2 coins to spend at the next town. When they misbehave, they have to give you back a coin.
- Drive at night so the children will sleep. If you are driving at night, make sure you take lots of breaks. (And if you are driving around dawn or dusk in the Australian countryside watch for kangaroos and wombats.)
…and just when you think you’ve thought of everything; family life has a way of serving up an unpredictable adventure. That’s why the all-new Honda CR-V is ready for anything.
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The all-new Honda CR-V is ready for all family life’s adventures, because you’re at the centre of everything we do.
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* Apple CarPlay® is a trademark of AppleInc. CarPlay and Siri require iPhone 5 model and above running iOS 7.1 or higher. +Android, Android® Auto and Google are trademarks of Google Inc.Android Auto and Google Voice Search requires Android 5.0 (Lollipop) or above.