As my kids have grown I have noticed a difference in what works on a road trip. Eye Spy and shopping games are tolerated in emergencies or really bad traffic jams, but we’re entering a new world of car travel.
Learning about the pleasures of road trip, and how to be a really cool passenger are important life skills for the travel loving kid. If you can make good conversation, navigate, share good music and snacks you’re always going to get to call Shotgun.
Aviva, providers of car insurance, breakdown cover and insurance for foreign travel, asked me to share the things that make car travelling with my tweens go smoothly.
I took my 9 and 11 year old solo to Camp Bestival last week and really enjoyed their car company. Here’s what helped make the journey go smoothly…
Get them navigating
My kids love watching the world go by on Google maps and make brilliant navigators. I turn on satellite mode so they can see what the world looks like. My daughter loved spying on houses with pools in Dorset and my son loved working out how the map matched up with what he was seeing out of the window. In an age where we relay so heavily on tech to get us places, it’s more important than ever to give them their own navigational skills, and it’s fun too.
My son spent 5 hours happily navigating us to Camp Bestival – with the odd nap and a short sneak onto You Tube on longer stretches – which really surprised me.
Get them DJing
Get them to play DJ and sort out a family playlist, with something for everyone. Perhaps they can ask everyone for their top road trip hits. This can save arguments, promotes musical tolerance and diversity and means you don’t spend the journey with them plugged into headphones not talking to you.
Let them take turns at the front seat
When kids are 135cm they are tall enough to sit in the front, and although the back is generally the recommended place for kids, I think the front does have some huge advantages. It gives them a whole new perspective on the world. It also separates bickering siblings and switches up the family dynamic. Its chance to teach them the art of conversation too.
Use the time to talk about the big stuff
Sitting side by side is the best way to talk to older kids. No eye contact, but also no escape means the conversation is more comfortable. Long car journeys when one child is amused in the back – gadgets or other parents are good for this – are a great time to talk through problems, goals, wishes or just what’s going on in their life right now. The perfect way to ease into a trip and rebond ready for your holiday.
Let them plan the snacks
Set some parameters of course, but there is no reason why you need to be making the pack up anymore. Let them prepare a healthy car feast, with some treats too of course. Keep them quiet while you finish up work and other jobs by baking some snacks to take or making the sandwiches. Get them packing the travel mugs and bottles and thinking about the environment and reducing packaging. All important life skills.
Post in collaboration with Aviva.