Recently I hit the road for a little family getaway. We cruised down the south coast to visit my mother in law for a few days.
To be honest, I was freaking out! Not about visiting my mother in law but about the car trip.
I don't have good memories of our baby girl on these long trips down the coast. They are peppered with breastfeeding amongst the cows, ear piercing screams (these might have been my own) and travelling a whole day when according to www.whereis.com.au it should take 4 hours and 4 minutes.
My own experiences as a child travelling to my grandparents aren't much better. They are tainted with bouts of heat stroke and vomiting and a brother who got extremely car sick.
No wonder I was freaking out, right?
This trip marked our first time venturing past the city limits with the two kids in the back. I was preparing myself for tears, tantrums and possibly vomit.
But we made it, there and back again. We are alive and no-one was vomited on - always a bonus. I did learn some tips along the way though....
- Activities - pack a lot of car friendly age appropriate activities. These could include paper, textas, colouring books, activity books, puzzle books and learner flash cards.
- Entertainment - take a DVD player and plenty of DVDs. I would rather be listening to The Wiggles than screaming any day of the week. Also, pack a tablet (iPad) with lots of different games too - current favourites for our miss five are pet salon and cooking apps.
- Games - be prepared to play "I spy with my little eye something that is grey"....having a grey car interior pretty much makes everything spied grey. This is a massive practice in patience.
Another good one is getting the five year old to read the speed limit signs. You will be shocked at how often you need to change your speed.
You can also spot the animals in the paddocks and attempt to count them as you zoom past at 100km/h.
There is also the old chestnut of spotting all the red cars or blue cars or white cars- you get the idea.
We even opened the roof window to let our little man spot the planes in the sky.
- Snacks - pack a bag of snacks and then double the amount of snacks you packed. If I had to feed my kids for the entire five hour trip for them to be happy, then I would have. And it seems that sitting in the car for hours makes people hungry.
- Leave your expectations at home - If you think one child will be okay and the other won't be - the opposite will actually happen. If you only expect to stop once, you will stop at least 20 times. So, don't expect anything and you won't be disappointed.
- Allow "are we there yet?" to become your friend because you will hear it on average 250 times per hour. Try thinking of quirky unexpected answers before you leave, it may help or then again it may not. This is another practice in patience.