kids

30 Mar Keeping the Kids Entertained on Long Car Trips

With summer right around the corner many of you are probably busy searching for and planning the perfect holiday for you and your family. While staying in Ireland may be the most convenient option, particularly if you have a young family, the thoughts of a long road trip with the kids can bring dread to any parent.

Road trips and children bring about the age-old conundrum – how can I keep the kids occupied on a long car ride? Nothing dampens the holiday spirit more than bored kids in the back seat and the “Are we there yet” phrase from the rear of the car.

In May 2012, the AA revealed that, of a sample of 4,911 parents, the most popular method of keeping the kids occupied was to bribe good behaviour with a few choice snacks. The second most popular technique was to play some good old-fashioned car games such as I-spy.

In third and fourth place came the less-traditional methods of hand held games consoles and portable DVD players, while the use of audio books or children’s music rounded out the top five.

Now that you know the more popular methods, why not try something different? Any parent knows that variety is the spice of life, especially when it comes to entertaining young passengers, so an out-of-the-ordinary activity might be just what your family needs for your next car journey.

White Boards and Markers

You can pick up a small whiteboard and marker at almost any arts and crafts shop and the possibilities are endless. Whether the children are in the mood for a game of Hangman or prefer X’s and O’s, this will be sure to keep them entertained for a good while. It also doubles up as a good way of keeping score for the more traditional games such as I-spy.

Instant Film/ Disposable Cameras

Yes, disposable cameras still exist and the novelty of an old-fashioned camera without the modern zoom and filter features can be a big hit with the young ones. They’re relatively cheap too and can be found at some pharmacies and newsagents. If you’re looking to make a bigger investment, there are some instant cameras on the market that spit out small polaroid photos in a matter of seconds. Let the kids take silly photos of themselves or capture images for a holiday scrapbook.

Spot the County/ Country

This game works whether you’re going on a short stay-cation or driving further afield through Europe. Before you go, print out a map of Ireland and/or Europe with the names of the counties/countries and tell the kids to keep an eye out for the borders. The person who gets them all correct at the end wins a prize!

Other Important Tips:

Car Seats

Did you know that according to a survey done by the AA in November, 76pc of parents have had a child escape their car seat? Before embarking on a long road trip with the family, make sure your child’s car seat is properly fitted and secured. Not sure how to go about that? Luckily we have a helpful guide with more information:

Snack Attack

To keep the munchies at bay, an exhaustive supply of snacks is essential. Keep in mind what snacks will work well on a long journey – think boxes of raisins, bananas, apple slices and string cheese. Remember that not all your children’s favourite snacks are suitable for road trips – so stay away from the yogurts! It might be a good idea to try and keep fluids in spill-proof sippy cups or bottles as juice boxes often result in sticky spillages.

To an even smoother road trip through Europe, it is worth investing in European Breakdown Cover. Take out cover online today and get a €15 discount or a €25 discount if you’re an AA member.

Barry Aldworth
AldworthB@theaa.ie