Travelling With Children: A Parent's Guide (Need 2 Know) by Catherine Cooper
This is a guide book about all the different aspects of traveling and holidays with children, covering many topics including modes of transport, types of holiday, destinations, things to do and budgets. It also has some small case studies in it of the different types of traveling some families have enjoyed, and recommends a few websites to look on.
I found it quite interesting to have a look through and get some ideas about what kind of holidays would be good for us, as we have not yet traveled abroad at all since having our oldest child (now 3 and a half) so next time we do go on holiday with 3 young children will be quite different from previous child-free holidays so there may be a lot to think about. A lot of what's in the book is probably quite common sense, but still having a look through can remind you of different issues or give a couple of new suggestions. I found some of the information in the budget section, and the information about specific destinations to be the most useful.
I think its a book that you can keep dipping into when thinking about holidays and would be most suited for people who have not yet gone abroad with their children, or who may be a bit anxious or daunted by the prospect of traveling with their young children so need to get some reassurance and idea from this book.
I have also posted this review on The School Run forum book reviews section (slightly adapted) under the user name Ummziyad
Now we live in a seaside resort we don't travel as far as we have in the past. In the past we have made trips from Manchester to Cornwall with a baby, then she grew to a toddler and we still did it but now we tend to travel to the lake district, which takes and hour or two depending where abouts we go. Last summer we went to the Norfolk Broads and it ended up taking us 9 hours (slight detour) with a 12 year old and a 4 year old.
When we go a long way on holiday we try and set off very early in the morning last summer we set off at about 4.30 am. This way the children will fall back asleep...................... but not mine this time they stayed awake until about 10.30am and then finally dozed.
I always pack a lunch box for them with snacks and a drink (and then have other drinks handy) I don't want them drinking loads before we stop or that would be a nightmare. The snacks are things like raisons, fruit flakes and maybe a biscuit or a bag of crisp as well as a sandwich.
When we travelled with just one I used to sit in the back of the car with her for long journeys until she was about 4, that way I could keep her entertained. She actually learned to write her name in the back of the car on the way to Newquay when she was 3.
I find as well as food it is good to take paper/colouring book and crayons when you have a young child and books when they are getting a little older. Mine both pack a bag the youngests include these and some small dolls to play with and favourite teddies.
I also find a cheap etcha sketch is good as they can keep drawing on it. If you are sat in the back with them you can also draw on it and it would be a good idea to take some books to read to them.
Colouring, books and toys can be taken whatever the length of journey and no matter what you are travelling by. We take this when we go by car and train and the one time we went on a plane. But if you are travelling by car and it is the middle of the night it is nice to let them take their quilt and maybe their pillow as this makes them nice and cosy and keeps them snug, plus they are more likely to go back to sleep.
Make your journey stress free by being organised for the children or if they are old enough tell them to pack stuff to keep them busy.
I am probably abnormal as traveling with children does not strike fear into my heart and maybe because a journey is an adventure and part of something more exciting to come ours are fairly stress free apart from the arguments on map reading!!
Below are my top tips on how I travel with my children it works for me and my children.
1) if there is a really long journey pick your time wisely if we fly I pick the earliest flight I can which means the Girls sleep at least until the Airport, on the return I go for the opposite and pick a late flight which with luck means they sleep all the way home.
We travel by Car to Northumberland which if we are lucky is 5.5 hours but more likely 6 this is a challenge however the same rules apply and so we leave at bedtime for the girls and arrive and go to bed meaning although a late night fo us every one has had some sleep and no one is over tired the next day.
2) The Holiday bag before a Holiday I make the holiday bag things to do, books to read, a drink and a snack, these are met with so much excitment, indeed my husband wanted to know where his bag was! I visit charity shops and car boot sales before we go away and pick up new to us story books in mini, I print of colouring pages from Cbeebies( quizzes, wordsearches, code breakers are all great for older children your local library probably has some on offer in the holidays)
new pencils this year I but felt tips (washable) in a fluffy pink pencil case she was extatic!
3) relax this is the begining of your holiday start the holiday from the minute you leave the house and relax the rules we start a daytime journey with a special breakfast if everyone is relaxed the journey will be relaxed as well.
4) Plan expect the journey to go well but ensure there is a helping hand i.e expect boredom every 10 miles we have sing a long cds and story ones indeed on our trip recently the Girls were asleep and we were still singing along to I am the music maker!!
Games our favourites are can you find... how many lorry drivers will wave were going on holiday and we are going to do ( just on your turn do not say not a lot didnt go down well with Husband!)
I am holiday and in my suitcase i packed supposed to be amemory game but currently mine are a little young!
5) Factor in Caffiene breaks ( oops I mean rest) a loo stop plus coffee for you essential if a early start was the key element, normally at this point a snack is purchased again the choice element is another excitement.
6) Leaving time ok we all know who stressful it is adding being late to anything so change your time by 30mins if you should be leaving at 10am make it 9.30 then when you are all ready at 9.45 its ok this really works and allows a much easier less fraught leaving.
As I stated these work for our family, the thrill of the adventure and the excitement means a journey is met with glee not fear and trepidation, think back to when you were a child and journeys were not awful but adventure try and get that mindset back and things become easier not oh no its a traffic Jam aargh is really a grown up thing try its a traffic jam first to spot a pink car gets and have little prizes just keep it equal stops arguments!
Well these little tips really work for our journeys and I do not feel the children are a problem the Husband well thats another story!
My husband , myself and our two kids (2.5 and 4 months) often travel from Leeds to Glasgow to visit family. It can be a nightmare of a journey especially when my 2 year old doesn't sleep. We have just made the best investment and I wish I had done it sooner. We bought DVD screens for the back of the car with some left over xmas money. My son was hooked. He watched Balamory, the wiggles, and more. I know some people don't like their kids watching TV but on a 4 hour journey it was brilliant. Yes, he still reads his books, plays with some toys and we play the usual "I spy " and sing but after a while he gets bored. We normally try and break the journey up by stopping for lunch or at some outlet villages half way. Yes, it makes the day longer but the kids can get some fresh air, stretch their legs, have a change of scenery and see new places.
A couple of other games we play
- look at the clouds and say what you see, it could be a face, a tree, a bird an animal
- We talk about what we are going to do on our trip and who we're going to see
- we play spot the animals, the planes, trains
- count the asda lorries or eddie stobart lorries
Also, try and save special treats for the journeys and make a big fuss saying that they have been brilliant.
I recently took a 6 hour car ride with 2 children under the age of 5 and believe me it is no picnic. However, I got a few travelling tips from friends and family before we went that really saved me during this car ride, I really hope that they help others:
1) Firstly, go with the flow. Planning is good but where kids are concerned things very rarely go as planned. If you see the trip as an adverture, the children will too (I know this is much easier said than done after 5 hours in a stuffy car).
2) Be prepared: Calpol, hand wipes, drinks, fruit to snack on, a change of clothing for you and the kids, plasters, games and toys, drawing material.
3) Use nap times to your advantage and plan your trip accordingly. Better still, consider driving through the night.
4) Kids love to sing - a cd full of all the favs (if you're happy and you know it, Old Mc Donald, 1,2,3,4,5, as a parent you will know the ones I'm talking about) is a must have. Books on tape are always a good option depending upon the age of your child.
5) Plan the best places to stop before you begin, choose areas with things that the children can do, 15 minutes on a play area while you stretch your legs is better than a quick trip to the toliet and then back into a car.
Games to play:
1) I spy
2) I see you see, you take turns to say what you can see out of the window, but you can not repeat things.
3) Countinuous story, each person in the car has 1 minute to tell the next bit of the story.
4) Spot it. Cut out pictures before you leave and then the kids have to find the things along the way.
Ok this review is about a matter of the heart.
My kids and i was involved in a car crash tuesday 15th of june, due to some nutter who so fit to pull out out straight in front of me.
Luckily me my children and i are fine.
My husband phoned to say he ran out of petrol and that i had to pick my children up from after school club in my Corsa.
My children were confused on why i picked them up and not daddy so explained that daddy had run out of petrol and that i had to get some for him.
On the way on the main road i notice a driving instructor pulling out quite fast, thinking to myself that he was making a mistake doing that, then all of a sudden a red car follows hence the crash.
All i can remember is a bag exploding in my face and smoke everywhere and my kids screaming in horror, i tugged at my seat belt and opened the door and grabbed my 3 children to safety.
Meanwhile one of my friends happened to be driving past (which i am grateful for)
What friends are for...
My friend might i say was fantastic, she took my kids away and kept me from killing the ar** that pulled out on me, i was shaken and being sick everywhere, my kids cried for a while but were ok and i have been left with whiplash (thankgod) my car on the other hand was not.
I have to say that i am so relieved that my kids remembered their seatbelts, for once i never reminded them, so all the times i got in the car and said " put your seatbelts on" i am so proud that all the nagging sunk in with them.
So my message to you is make sure you and your children have seatbelts on, my windscreen smashed due to inpact of the airbags, but that could have been one my kids heads.
I said that it would never happen to me, but it did.
From experience of many family trip i would like to offer My tips for traveling with children on short or long trips by any type of transport:
1. Are we there yet? Is a typical thing children will say, my tip is use a alarm clock and put the time it will take to get to the destination and then count down, don't forget to add an extra half an hour to cover any delays. Then give it to the children to watch so they know how long they have left to go.
2. Games - Hunt out the internet for travel games, the more you can find the better. No matter how silly the game, as long as it keeps the children amused that's all that matters. Some games i use are find the colour car, i spy, what am i thinking of.
3. Stay calm - If you stay calm at an airport or while driving the children are likely to follow this, shouting at them will only make things worse.
4. Food - Have plenty of drinks and snacks which you can get to at short notice, you don't have to give them sweets, try currents or mini biscuits.
5. Be prepared - Have a travel pack including Baby wipes, plastic bags, napkins, safety pins, plasters. You never know what you may need to make your journey less stressful.
6. Make sure children go to the toilet just before you leave. Then stop every hour or so, you may have to stop earlier sometimes but stay calm. If they need to go its better than a wet smelly car.
7. Talk to them - Give them as much details as possible about your planned journey, children don't really like surprises they like to be kept informed.
8. Teddy - Don't forget favourite teddy or comforter, this is as important as your cash.
Its always go to be prepared.
For me there are a few top tips to travelling with children.
The first is to make sure that they know what to expect. We have all heard the emortal phrase "Are we there yet?" asked from the back seat. I always find if my children understand exactly what is going to happen next and how long it will take then they are better prepared, also it pays to be sneaky and it a journey is going to take 5 hours tell them it will be longer then if they are clock watching they will be peasantly surprised if you arrive early.
Second top tip is to make sure that they have plenty to occupy themselves with. For me one of the best inventions is the handheld games such as a Gameboy, not only are these great for travelling on planes, trains and cars they are useful in restauarants if you have children who once they have ordered a meal expect it to arrive within two minutes. The other advantage with these is that they do not take up too much space in your luggage however you do not to stock up with batteries.
I always find a pack of cards a great idea as there are lots of simple games that you can pay no matter how many of you there is however these are not much use for car travel.
As with all young children a packet of wet wipes is always useful as is some sort of bag or container for those who get travel sick in case you are unable to stop in time.
Finally it is important to have plenty of liquids and food on board as a bored child is often a hungry child.
This review is going to be about travelling in the UK with small children, as I'm afraid finances haven't yet allowed us to travel abroad with my toddler, but I hope some of the things which we have learnt will be useful...
**choice of destination**
Now, this may sound a bit obvious, but it needs including because it really is crucial to the success of your trip. If your child is relaxed and happy on holiday, you will be too. When they are very little, it's not so much of a problem as they are highly portable, but think carefully about where you take your toddler. If you are going self catering, think about the cottage - does it have a pond or a river? An enclosed garden? Really steep stairs? Your holiday will not be relaxed if you have to watch like a hawk 24/7 to stop them killing themselves - let's face it your average toddler doesn't need any encouragement at all to get into mischief!! Also, if you have the choice, go somewhere with a washing machine, its just easier - our son got sick one year on holiday and the trips to the laundrette...If you're going to a hotel, are mealtimes going to be a stress that you could do without? What times are the meals - if they're not around the time your toddler normally eats are you going to be able to get him to adapt?
As I said, Ive not been abroad with a little one, but I would think twice about going anywhere too hot as you could be asking for trouble - think how paranoid you are in this country about keeping the sun tan cream topped up and your child covered..
And don't forget to check out the equipment provided at your destination - make a list of what you need - high chair, cot, bed rail etc and ask what they provide - you'll have a car full of stuff anyway, so the fewer big items you have to take, the better. The first time we took my son away, we couldn't actually see him from the front seats as it was all so loaded up! This leads nicely onto our next point..
**what to take**
You do need to take a lot of stuff with you when you go away with a little one, theres no getting round it - the days of sticking a couple of suitcase in the car and heading out of the door are over - but dont go mad like I did. My top tip would be to make a list of what you need by having a notepad handy the week before you go away and writing down what you actually use in those few days - what you really cant live without. Take enough essential items such as food and formula, so you dont waste large chunks of a holiday looking for a supermarket which stocks the brand you want, but go easy on the toys. They dont need everything they own and youll be out on trips most of the time anyway. But do take any comfort items or toys which they just cant get to sleep without, or you may live to regret it...
Now, Im not a fan of sticking children in front of the TV and I severely restrict my sons viewing, but I wouldnt be without my portable DVD player for long car journeys, and theyve come down in price so much in the last year or two its an investment seriously worth considering. Its especially useful for that in between stage - when theyre a baby they mostly sleep in the car, when theyre older theres the chance for games or reading, but when theyre a toddler they just get bored and fidget, especially when theyve just started to walk. The DVD weve got also runs from the mains and so doubles up as a source of entertainment for both adults and children once weve reached our destination, which is a bonus.
Dont forget to pack a couple of books, and be sure to go for the old familiar favourites, the ones youve been forced to read every night for twp months - its exciting going away, but it can be strange for little ones to be sleeping somewhere new, and Ive found that a favourite bedtime book can be really comforting for them. Another nice idea is but a new book while youre away - my parents did this when I was little and I still associate those books now with lovely childhood holidays at the seaside.
A idea that Im going to try this year, but which Ive heard works really well, is to take a cheap scrapbook and some glue and make a memory book of the holiday as you go along, which you can then add photos to when they get home. Its not only a relatively cheap souvenir for the child, but its also great for developing their language skills - theyll love describing their holiday to friends and relatives when they get back, and as they get older they can start writing in their own captions.
**surviving a long car journey**
Just a few thoughts about ways to make the inevitable car journey go a bit more smoothly. The DVD player, of course, but also look out for story tapes or songs which you can play in the car - yes I know theyre irritating, but a few quid spent wisely in your local charity shop doesnt half keep kids happy -but also Ive found a bit of forward planning helps.
Keep a small bag of the essentials for the journey - nappies/spare pants, spare clothes, wipes, a snack, a drink, a book, a small toy - and keep it with you until the very last second, making balancing it on top of the luggage or putting it in the passenger foot well your last action before departure. This is advice from the heart of a woman who has been seen in the car park of a little chef unpacking and repacking the car in the search of baby wipes... If you get really good, try to pack something the child can play with near the top of the luggage to give them something to do while you unpack at the other end too.
Ive found one of the most useful items on a car journey is a packet of nappy sacks as they have 101 uses from dog poo incidents at the side of the road through to sick bags (the smell of the sack masks it!) to a way of collecting the trail of rubbish and half eaten food which accumulates during the journey.
I find now that I plan journeys in a different way to the way I did before I had my son - no more driving for hour after hour to get there as soon as we can. You have to accept that the journey is going to me much more a part of the trip, and that its going to take a lot longer. Planning in frequent breaks reduces stress levels all round, and is obviously essential with potty trained children. These days there are some excellent motorway services which are very child friendly, but they are rather pricey. We tend to head off the beaten track a bit and find one of the major supermarket chains, as youre guaranteed clean toilets, baby changing, cheap food and the chance to buy any last minute items which youve forgotten.
If you have got plenty of time, weve found planning a little visit or trip into the day is great, even if you just spot a playground where they can run off some steam and tire themselves out - a sleeping child in the car is always good! When theyre really little, try to plan a journey around their nap times if you can, as this keeps their routine intact. This isnt easy though, and the times Ive had a sleeping baby in the car who is then wide awake at bedtime!
Hope youve enjoyed reading my ramblings and that they might be of some help to you. Were off on holiday to Scotland in a couple of weeks, so maybe Ill have more to add then..
As the father of 2 young children I thought it would be useful to write about the joys (read that with tongue in cheek)! Of travelling with children. As a family we travel a great deal both on business when my wife and children come along for the ride, and on holiday. Planning is really important with children in tow, to avoid unnecessary stress. It really is not the same as 2 adults going away-believe me! Travelling by car **************** There are definite advantages to going by car even on long journeys. Everything is close to hand and it is usually possible to make frequent stops. I think it is important to have drinks close at hand. For young children I would suggest keeping a drink of water in a non-spill cup in the front with the passenger. Older children can have small bottles of water in the back. We fill a large flask with cool tap water and keep handy for re fills too. It really helps to have a number of easy to eat snacks to hand in the body of the car too. We once got stuck on a motorway for over an hour following an accident and would not have been able to retrieve food or drink from the boot. Dried fruit, small cubes of cheese, fingers of bread and dry crackers are all favourites with our children and don?t make too much mess either! Another useful item to keep in the glove compartment is a damp face cloth in a plastic bag. Baby wipes are great for fingers .A plastic bag with a change of clothing is useful too in case of sickness. On long journeys small children may well sleep a lot meaning that they can be difficult to get to sleep when you get to your destination. We try to time our journeys to coincide with normal sleep times-not always possible but worth considering! It is a good idea to pack a small bag (not plastic) with a few toys and books to help amuse your child. But you need to choose carefully; we avoid anything heavy, which our youngest would use as a missile when fru
strated! Story tapes borrowed from the library are a great idea and don?t cost much either. Make sure you allow for plenty of stops when you calculate your journey time and if necessary book an over night stay stop in a child friendly motel. Travel by plane This can be really tricky! We recently flew to San Francisco and believe me I vowed never again! However here are my tips for what they are worth! Again prepare and make sure you pack wisely. We make sure we request front seats with more leg room these allow a baby to be strapped into a seat in front of you, allowing you a bit of peace. Most airlines will provide baby seats and special food if you request these early enough. We always pack snacks for our children anyway. We always pack a small rucksack for our 5 year old with a few surprises such as a new book and a few comics. The airline usually gives out crayons but it is a good idea to pack some plain paper! Don?t forget your child?s favourite toy and a blanket, aircraft can be chilly. We always pack our older child?s Walkman and some new tapes plus extra batteries. On long haul flights there is usually a child friendly movie but this gets a bit boring by the 10 th viewing so don?t rely on it! It goes without saying that you will need to take nappies and wipes for babies. I would also suggest you pack an extra set of clothes not only for your children but for yourself too, this proved important when my 2 year old was sick over me recently! If you are travelling from a cool climate to a really hot one then remember to have a suitable change of clothes and a sun hat. Most airlines will let you take a buggy right to the aircraft and will then put into the cabin for you, this is great as it means you will be able to safely strap your child into the buggy when you arrive. Airports are not safe places for a lively toddler and after a long flight you will not feel like chasing after them! Children under 2 don?t
usually travel free but then they don?t get a seat either, unless you are lucky and get a bulkhead seat at the front, this can be a real pain. It may be worth considering paying for an extra seat if you can afford it. Small children often suffer more than adults with their ears due to the pressure, when taking off and landing. It helps to give them something to suck such as a dummy or sweet for an older child. My wife is still breast-feeding our youngest and manages to do so even with our child in his seat belt on her lap! However much you plan long flights and small children are not a good combination, so accept this and don?t worry too much if they are awful! I have only travelled by train a few times and found that the same rules apply as with other modes of transport. NEVER NEVER rely on train food though, always take your own! We have travelled to many countries with our children since they were born and think it is great experience for them. As they get older it will be easier to travel and hopefully will mean less planning! Although I would not take my family anywhere considered politically dangerous we have travelled to many wonderful places. I hope this has been useful and happy travels!
No matter how much people try and put you off travelling with babies, don't listen...if I had I couldn't comment now. We took our 4 month old son on his first trip abroad to Spain, we decided on a short flight from our local airport to make life easier and to test the water!! Shorter journeys make it easier to plan for and therefore keep yourselves sane....we were equipped with dummy, bottle and boob at the ready and after taking off, he slept the whole journey with the movement of the plane, much like a car journey which will instantly send a child to sleep, no need for feeding on the outward trip....on the return as I was feeding him myself we opted for a window seat and my partner sat in the middle seat, enabling discreat feeding and again he slept the whole journey. The holiday itself was okay too, plenty of sunscreen, shade, drinks and sleep gave him and us a holiday to remember. Tips - make sure you are aware of how to get hold of a doctor should you need one and have all insurance papers to hand when you do so. Take a very good sunshade for your pushchair and keep it in the shaded areas. Take a supply of nappies etc for a few days, most countries will have their own brands which are as good. Buy a travel kettle with a separate bottom so you can heat bottles and food in them. Take a first aid kit of medication just in case.you probably won't need it then - calpol or similar, rehydration sachets, thermometer, insect repellent (suitable for babies/toddlers), camomile lotion in case of bites etc and lavender oil (this is great for getting everyone relaxed and asleep!
There are few things parents dread more than a long car trip with children. The whining, the crying, the fighting, the bathroom breaks, the spilled food and drinks, the grumpy kids. And that's before you even get out of the drive way. However, people can survive long trips with kids. I won't go so far as to say that you can enjoy it, but you can survive it. The scenes you see in movies and tv with families of four driving along a scenic route, smiling and singing fun songs and playing the license plate game are a dream. Trust me, it doesn't happen. And I can tell you that books on tape will not entertain your child for very long. I lived down south, but am from a nothern state where most of my family and friends live. The drive was 8 hours long and I have a 13 year old daughter and 5 year old son. We made the trip several times a year, almost once a month. I am lucky, I have just the three of us and a mini-van. So, the children each get their own seat, which helps greatly with the fighting. But believe me, they still manage to fight. So, I have found some tried and true methods to make the long trip endurable. These are just some hints. They may not work for everyone, but they help me. I hope they help you. 1. Always make the children go to the bathroom before you pack them into the car. Whether they have to go or not. Otherwise, they will have to go five minutes after you get into the car. 2. Let them each pack a bag of items to play/do in the car. Some of the better toys are books, paper, pencil, crayons, etch-a-sketch, dolls, little cars. What I have also found helpful is to give them each $5 and take them to the Dollar Store. They can each pick out 5 items to take on the trip. True, the toys are cheap and break easy, but if they make it through the trip it has served it's purpose and the kids have new toys to look forward to. 3. Stop often and let the kids get out. Even if they don't go to the
bathroom, they stretch and it helps keep the cabin fever down. The few minutes you let them out of the car may slow down your trip some, but it will help greatly in keeping the peace when in the car. 4. Pack snacks in the car for the trip. Make sure it is things that are not sticky or require a clean up. I have found gummy snacks, pretzels, pop tarts and even chips are good. Your car might be messy at the end of the trip, but the kids will be happier. 5. Juice bottles, squirt bottles, Squeezits are all good ideas, but also keep in mind that the more they drink, the more they will have to go to the bathroom, so limit how much they drink. **Also keep in mind that some children get car sick. Both of my children went through a phase where if they ate on a trip, they got sick. So watch out for sick tummies** 6. Be inventive with your games. We always travel through farm country. So we play a game where the kids get paid for the animals they see if they can see it soon enough for me to see it too. The system pays like this.. Cow= .01 horse=.01, bull=.05, donkey=.05, duck=.01, white horse=.10 And so on. My 12 year old keeps track for me and I pay at the end of the trip. The penalty for cheating is that you go back to 0 and since I have to see it too, they keep their eyes peeled. This would not work for everyone, but it gives you the idea that you can be inventive with your games. 7. Another things I do during the trip is play the Quiet Game. When I am at my wits end and don't want to hear one more word, I play this game. I tell them that it is now time for the Quiet Game. I turn up the music a little, I tune them out and they know that I won't answer them if they talk to me. I will completely ignore them for a time. At first they will do all they can to get my attention, but they usually give up and find something to do after about 5 minutes. And then we have peace and quiet for a time in the car. As
long as you don't react to the child at all, they will get the message. 8. I allow my children to have a choice of the music we listen to on the trip. I do have a tape player, so they each get to chose some tapes to take and we take turns picking one to listen to. But this also works with radio stations. Select a time limit of say 1/2 an hour or an hour and each hour the next person gets to chose. That way, no one is subjected to any music for too long. 9. I dress them in layers and allow them to take pillows and blankets in the car. That way, I set the temperature to one that is comfortable for me and they can put on/take off clothes as needed for comfort and I get to be comfortable as well without having to drive in a coat or be too hot. I also allow them to wear slip on shoes for the trip and they can take them off in the car. Slipping off their shoes seems to go a long way in making them more comfortable. 10. Most importantly, I don't stress. I don't rush, I don't complain in traffic. I know that it will take a long time to get there and if we don't make the trip in 8 hours, then we will make it in 9. We will get there. Rushing or cussing or stressing will only stress the kids out more and cause more trouble. The more tense you are, the more the children will pick up on it and misbehave. So relax. Especially if it is a vacation. Try to enjoy the trip as much as possible. These are just a few of the tips that have helped me to survive many trips with my kids. I hope they help you or give you some ideas for things you can do on your trips. Peace, Kimber
Last summer we organised the holiday of a lifetime to the Rocky Mountains. I was dreading it! Not the holiday, but the prospect of motoring across Colorado with three squabbling kids. We aimed to keep driving at a minimum, but in the open spaces of the West a six hour run is peanuts! What's a parent to do when her oldest son and daughter can't bear to be in the same room together, let alone the same car. My daughter is prone to travel sickness and cannot sleep in a car, no matter how exhausted she is. My youngest son has a bladder the size of a pea. And my eldest son gets ratty if he doesn't get hourly burger feeds. Typical, I'm sure. But how do you keep all three happy, the parents sane and the driver able to concentrate on the road? Over the years, we've worked out a few ploys that cost a lot less than a new car with thre rows of seats. • Bring food, but don't expect them to eat anything healthy. Fruit drinks and water are better than fizzy drinks, which tend to erupt before you've had time to grab a sick bag, and also flow directly to (and out of) young bladders. Choose bottles with caps if you don't want to hold open sloshing Cola cans for three hours. And finally, bring something to clean sticky fingers and minimise pit stops. A good meal before leaving is a must. • Even older kids enjoy story tapes, provided the tales have a decent, pacey plot. Be sure to choose tapes that give you an hour minimum. Many that come with short children's books only last 15 minutes and can be slow moving and simplistic. Tapes that contain a selection of stories or a novel are favourites with our children and can keep them quiet for miles. Song tapes appeal to the smaller ones. • Bring action figures and stuffed toys. • Throw in a couple of pillows and a duvet. • If you have one child who gets along with everyone, place him or her between the warring
siblings as a buffer zone. If you only have two children use a pillow. Unfortunately it means everyones pal never gets a coveted window seat. Any day now our peacekeeper is sure to wise up and demand a change. • Play CD Karaoke. We gave our eldest son a personal CD player in a bid to make him a more co-operative passenger. He came up with the idea to take turns at singing along to whatever was playing down the earphones. This game kept all three going for hours upon hours of spectacular Colorado scenery. The downside is that they only choose four songs, three of which were Britney Spears numbers! Be careful too, as your kids may want to turn CD Karaoke into a competitive game with parents awarding points for singing ability. This always descends into warfare! • When the kids get bored singing and you've had it up to there with Britney, get them to rate the songs on the radio. • Play Twenty Questions or 'I spy with my little eye'. • Here's a good game if it's starting to get dark and you still have a long way to go. One player begins a story on a topic chosen by everyone else in the car. He/she must tell the story without using words beginning with two letters, the other players deciding the letters. For littler kids, I adapt the rules so that two particular words cannot be used. For example: a story about a birthday party without using the words cake or candles. The instant the player uses one of the forbidden words or letters, another player must take up on the narrative. The stories can go on and on. But hey, whatever keeps them happy! • Bring a mini tape recorder. Do fake interviews and play them back again. • If you have time, stop for a run-around in the fresh air. Vital for cooped-up toddlers. • Do not sing 99 Bottles on the Wall! Ever! • Make sure your car is reliable. Fighting kids are bad enough when the vehicle is mov
ing! • Many parents swear by hand held computer games. Not owning any I can't really judge. We do have magnetic travel games, but the bits are so small, they get lost everywhere, and these games only seem playable under motorway conditions. Thanks to tips gained over the years, car trips haven't been too bad recently. Bedlam for the first five minutes, then the kids settle down into grumpy resignation. It makes a nice change from holidays past when I'd return home with neck pain from swivelling round to give the evil eye to the little terrors in the back seat. At least we're safely past flooded pants, or nappy stops, or bottle feeds in the dark in the middle of nowhere. It's even been a year since we've had to pull the car over and refuse to move until the bickering stopped. Of course this is just a lull. Another year or two and we'll have three large, sulking teenagers fighting for space. maybe the car with three rows of seats isn't such a bad idea after all!!!
Gone are the simply days when you used grab a few things, and your partner would whisk you away for a romantic weekend. Now your car resembles a moving house as a weekend to see the grandparent’s means packing the entire contents to keep an army happy. After a quick head count and a summons that everyone should use the toilet you are ready to go. This is when the fun usually starts, children are not meant to sit still in a confined space of a car and they soon become restless. The trip never seems to end and although there is nothing worse than a bored child, the horror that crosses your mind when one child suddenly announces that they feel like they are going to be sick. As vivid images of this morning’s breakfast making an entrance at a hundred miles an hour, crosses your mind, all windows are suddenly opened wide in hope that the blast of cold air flushes away your childs nausea, sadly this only seems to work for what seems a few seconds and is replaced with protests that they more likely to be blown out the window into on coming traffic. (well it would solve the sickness problem..only joking) There are many solutions to try and keep travel sickness at bay: Don’t let your child read or do things the require looking down for long periods of time as that provokes motion sickness, try and keep food and drink intake as low as possible as a full stomach can also provoke nausea. Keeping children occupied whilst travelling is one solution. Music.......although depending on the age group, the driver can become a touch irate when baa baa black sheep is sung for the hundredth time as can the request from a teenagers request for a repeat for the latest single to played again and again. Although there are many solutions that can be used l found one that works without fail every time. Welcome to my world of Joyriders........ Sold in most places that have a pharmacy, Joyriders are tablets that will app
eal not only to children but to most parents as well. Manufactured by Stafford-Miller, Joyriders are for any form of travelling. A box has twelve tablets that are a chewable fruit flavour, (usually raspberry)They cost around £2.15, which you might think a touch expensive, but there again so can the products you buy to try and get rid of that horrendous smell of sick! It is recommended that they are taken 20 minutes before travel but can be used if there is a sudden feeling of nausea and can even be used after travelling. On the back of the box it gives you what dosage is suitable for each age group and how often it can be taken, these tablets are suitable for children and adults but is not recommended that they be given to children under 3. It also carry’s a warning that they cause drowsiness so only take them if you are going to be a passenger. They might not suit everyone so read all information given on the box and and what they contain and if you have no problems, l highly recommend these as a healthy alternative to having to clean up a smelly mess.
We have an outside pool, so naturally sunscreens are particularly important to us. Particularly as we have an 8 year old daughter. In the past we have been using E45 sun screen with great success. By the end of the season our daughter's skin is slightly tanned. This year we couldn't get E45 and bought the Cancer Research Council's sunscreen. It said on the front and back that it would provide factor 20 for 2 hours after being in the water. After two days trying this cream, we found that we had caught the sun quite heavily. We are deeply concerned and have returned the product to the supermarket we purchased it from for a refund. We used the cream as instructed and applied it liberally. Could it be affected by the pool chemicals we use - active oxygen. Have other people used this cream and if so, what results have they had? As a result of the effects we have gone back to E45. But we have had to travel miles to get it.