Whether it is by train, car, or plane, all parents understand and share the dread of taking a young child on a long journey. But it needn’t be hell....
Prepared is a more positive outcome
If you plan for the journey itself then it is more likely to result in a peaceful procedure, rather than the chaos of grumpy children, fed up parents and tantruming teens.
Pack a picnic
Food is a great solution to any problem. When we are embarking on a long drive or a train ride I prepare each child (and the husband) their own picnic bag. That way they can eat when they like (without having to share) and it should contain all their favourite foods.
Having a treat bag is also a way to keep going if the journey takes longer and food supplies start to look thin on the ground. What child doesn’t behave for chocolate?
Give a gift
A great tip that I was once given before I embarked on a long haul flight with my toddler daughter, was to have presents on hand.
Let me explain,
I took a trip to the local 99p store and stocked up on small colouring books, toys, and arts and crafts items. I then quickly wrapped them at home and popped them in my bag.
As we boarded the plane I told her she was behaving really well and could have a present. The budget toy was adored and played with for an hour, and then I presented the second gift.
It was like Christmas in the clouds for her; she was happily kept amused all through the journey and loved her new toys.
I got peace on a plane for less than ten pounds.
Time to get technical
iPods, iPads, Kindle Fires, and children’s tablets; before going away we make sure these little beauties are charged to their maximum. We may try and limit screen time in the home, but if we are going on a long distance trip then these are a life saver.
Top tip – buy head phones so each child can listen to their choice of game or music without interfering with their sibling. Plus you get to sing along to the radio without anyone asking you to turn the volume down.
Get them involved
A great way to get them looking out of the window and learning about where they are going is to create a game that gets them involved. If you are organised you can plan a list of items they need to spot en route and arm them with clipboards and pens to mark off their achievements.
For those who have uber organisational skills, you may want to prepare a quiz about some of the towns and cities you will pass through – that should keep the older ones busy.
If not, play a game of Yellow Car – this is always a crowd pleaser in our car!
Whatever you do to prepare for your long journey ahead, ensure you plan in toilet breaks and water stops – as said before failure to plan can be mean chaos later.