Top ten tips for your roadtrips with kids…
December 23, 2019
As we launch into the holiday season, here’s a topic that could make any parent shudder: Driving long distances with the kids.
Children are unpredictable, and, let’s face it – patience is not their forte. So, if the thought of packing your young family into the car these Christmas holidays is slightly terrifying, you’re not alone.
But we’ve got you covered. Here are our Top 10 tried and tested tips that will have you mastering the art of the family road trip in no time. Your summer holiday adventure awaits!
Health and Safety is the priority
Always use appropriate restraints for your child’s age, such as car seats, capsules or seatbelts. We recommend having all seats professionally fitted to ensure they comply with Australian safety standards. Use a shade cloth on the windows to protect your child from the sun. Ensure luggage and other items are stored securely in the boot, not on the back ledge or dashboard where they could come loose and fly dangerously across the vehicle.
Leave early and take your time
Hit the road nice and early, and schedule lots of kid-friendly pit stops along the way. Think parks and playgrounds to burn off steam, ice-cream stops, and tourist attractions that appeal to little ones. These pre-planned breaks can also serve as a great bribery tactic. Can’t keep it together, Charlie? Well, we’ll be driving right past that chocolate gelato at the servo won’t we! It’s amazing how quickly that’ll turn things around.
A.K.A ‘a bottomless bag of distractions’, this gem can be filled with colouring-in and activity books, crayons, stickers, games, small toys (extra tip: Wrap the toys in multiple layers of wrapping paper to build anticipation and keep little fingers busy for longer) and more. To avoid fights, ensure each child has their own of every item, and distribute one at a time – letting each activity run its course before offering the next.
Snacks, glorious snacks
Much like the life-saving treasure bags, a healthy supply of snacks will save your sanity on a long car trip with kids. Fruit, muesli bars, popcorn, nuts, sandwiches, muffins and veggie sticks are all great options to stock up on, along with plenty of water. A few treats also won’t go astray either, for those moments you need a much stronger distraction.
Comfort is Key
If you’re driving at night or during nap times in particular, you’ll want your child’s seat to recline as far back as safely and legally possible. There’s nothing like a rigid, upright seat to make kids uncomfortable and give you a headache of a journey (trust us, from someone who’s learnt the hard way).
Involve your kids in the destination
In the lead-up and during your road trip, involve your children in planning the holiday. This will give them a sense of ownership and added excitement. Get their input on itinerary and activities they’d like to do, and make it a topic of discussion on the journey.
Engage and reconnect – the old-fashioned way
There’s nothing like getting away from the everyday hustle and bustle and reconnecting as a family. Use the car trip as an opportunity to share stories, initiate songs, and play games. And never underestimate the value of Old School favourites such as ‘I Spy’ and ‘Road Trip Bingo’ that can keep kids entertained on repeat!
A long drive is the perfect time to introduce kids to podcasts, which allow them to really listen without being distracted or led by the visuals of a TV or screen device. There are plenty of educational options available on platforms like iHeartRadio or Spotify, ranging from stories, to meditation, to science and more. If you drive a Toyota you have the added benefit of utilising Toyota’s optimum Bluetooth technology – plus select new Toyota vehicles offer upgraded multimedia systems, Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™, giving drivers the ability to access many apps on their mobile devices safely and conveniently.
Combat motion sickness
If there’s one way to spoil a car trip, it’s watching breakfast make a reappearance all over the back seat. To avoid motion sickness, keep windows open for fresh air, take frequent rest stops, encourage your child to look out the window and not at a stationary object (such as a book) inside the vehicle, and avoid eating heavy or greasy foods beforehand. If you suspect car sickness could rear its ugly head, check with your doctor on suitable anti-nausea medication prior to departing.
Did someone say mobile movie theatre?
Transport your backseat into a mobile cinema event with a portable DVD player and screens, popcorn, comfy pillows and blankets. The Landcruiser Sahara and Kluger Grande Range in Toyota vehicles offer an advanced entertainment systems as well as a voice recognition system that lets you to control many in-car entertainment features via voice commands from the driver’s seat, all while safely keeping your focus on the road.
From all of us here at Torque Toyota, we hope you have a safe and happy holiday season with your families. And if you have any questions about getting your vehicle road trip-ready, our team at Strathpine or North Lakes are always happy to help. Drop in or call us on (07) 3000 9000 today.