Tips For Surviving Car Travel with Kids: Don't leave home without our kid-friendly tips

Whether you're embarking on a school break to Galway, a two week holiday to the South of Ireland or trekking to Grandma's for Sunday Lunch, logging long miles in the car can be exhausting for everyone, from cranky babies to active preschoolers tired of sitting in the one spot for so long.

Building happy memories and avoiding hours of tears is all about anticipating your child's needs. Read on for tried and tested way of saving yourself from that dreaded chorus of "Are we there yet?"

Safety First:
  • Before you hit the road, make sure your child's car seat is properly secured.
  • Pack a first-aid kit, and a flashlight in case you break down in the dark. Check your AA cover (or equilavent) is up-to-date.
  • Don't forget to charge your phone beforehand and take along a phone charger so your mobile phone is charged in case of an emergency.
  • Carry out the standard car checks including inflated tyres, check the levels of your engine coolant, windscreen washer fluid and petrol/diesel, as well as checking your lights and mirrors.
Snack time:
  • I'm Hungry: Pack snacks that are easy to eat and drink while on the road.
  • Avoid your baby getting cranky by sticking to their feeding schedule as much as possible.
  • Pack wet wipes, baby wipes or antibacterial wipes. Great for wiping dirty/sticky hands before and after eating and wiping up spills.
  • Keep a rubbish bag in the car for wrappers, juice cartons and fruit peel.
  • Backpacks: Let your child pack their own activity pack, or if they are too young, pack it for them. Let them pack their favourite teddy, book, music, colouring book and crayons.
  • Books: Before a trip go to the library or shop and stock up on some age-appropriate books. Don't forget to pack a couple of the kids favourite bedtime stories. Audio books or CDs are also useful.
  • Map Reading: Involve older children in the road trip by handing them a map and let them navigate.
  • Sticker books and toy cars are a great hit.
  • DVDs: A portable DVD player can make the trip fly by, keeping the kiddies entertained with their favourite film or suprise them with one they have not seen yet.
  • Games are another great way to keep older kids entertained. From as early as two children can enjoy games such as old family favourites I Spy, The Alphabet Game and Spot the... Red Car, tallest building, flock of birds.
  • Music: whether it's for all the family or an mp3 with headphones for the older children, music is a great source of entertainment.
  • Timing: Factor in sleep time for the younger children. Travelling in the wee hours? Put the kids in the car (in their pjs) and they'll typically sleep for the first few hours. Travelling during the day on a long journey, younger children will normally sleep after something to eat.
  • Tiolet break & frequent stops: Little legs need to move! Take advantage of rest stops, petrol stations and parks along the way. A quick game of tag or kicking a football at a park can break up a drive and you'll already feel like you are on holidays.
  • Pack spare nappies and a change of clothes.
Don't forget to relax, children do not have to be entertain all the time. Soon quite time looking out the window can also be fun. Planning keeps kids calm and comfortable and preserves parents' sanity.

Related Articles:

4 Great Walks in County Galway


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