Are we nearly there yet?

Summer holidays are nearly upon us and with, hopefully, good weather we are more likely to be taking longer family trips both at home and abroad.

But long journeys can be stressful, especially with young children so we’ve put together some tips to help you minimise the anguish.

On the road

Travel sickness can be miserable for both the sufferer and those travelling with them. Be prepared – with a bucket, drinking water and a lot of refreshing wipes can help minimise the discomfort.

It may help to plan the journey to coincide with a small child’s usual nap time and of course don’t forget their favourite comforter or soft toy.

Electronic games or Audio books can keep them amused for a time, but a long journey planned properly doesn’t need to rely on them. It helps to ration the electronic games for a few days before the journey!

If you research the route you may be able to break the journey with an excursion to a child-friendly attraction for a couple of hours, and with luck the fresh air and exercise may make them drowsy.

In-car games can also be good fun.  Here’s a selection of ideas:

Spot A Yellow Car.. Shout ‘Yellow Car’ First.. And you get a point.  Apparently yellow cars are fairly infrequent!

If you know the route, make a list of landmarks/things to look out for and check off.

Play car-snap with the kids. Look for cars that match your own.

In the air

A selection of games, puzzle books, paper and pens is always useful and a plentiful supply of wipes is essential.

If you can, plan the flight for your children’s bedtime, put them in their night clothes and, even better if possible, carry out their bedtime routine with a story and a warm milky drink.

The most difficult part of a flight for babies and children is take-off and landing, when the changes in air pressure make the ears pop, which can be painful. Giving a baby or toddler a pacifier to suck on will help ease the pain.

Boiled sweets to suck can be helpful with older children.

Children will get thirsty and may not be able to wait until the cabin crew start distributing drinks, so another tip is to carry an empty feeder cup (with a lid) and fill up at the water fountain before you board the flight.

However you are travelling if possible dress children in layered clothing so it is easier keeping them cool.

Finally, whether the trip is in-country or to the airport parents can minimise their own stress by having someone else, like us, do the driving so there are two people to keep the children amused and no problems with parking.