Cape Town - So you’ve been looking forward to your family road-trip for all seven months of the year, and finally the time has arrived for you to fetch your kids up from school on their last day of term, and head for the hills!
In this moment, it hits you… No, not the wind in your hair, but the realisation that you will embark on this journey with your kids in the backseat of your car for 13 hours straight!
How will you hold it together? How will you control the ants in their pants?
1. Firstly, keep calm. The first signs of agitation might frustrate the situation before you even hit the road. Stock up on some lavender scented oils and take a long hot bath before you begin your journey. Kill two birds with one stone: invest in lavender scented car-freshener for the drive. This will help you and your kids remain anxiety-free throughout your journey!
2. How about planning your travel time around your child’s sleeping schedule? If you leave when your child is asleep (that’s if they’re tiny enough to not realise that they’re moving), it gives you a few hours to drive in peace before they wake up. This will also serve as an element of surprise.
3. Plan your stretch breaks every two to three hours. Stop at a restaurant with a playground, en route to your destination. While you wait for your order, your kids can run around and play. Why not throw in a quick game or two to tire your kids out for the rest of the journey?
Try not to overwhelm yourself though. Choose a game where you are simply the mediator or the referee. Remember, you still have driving to do, while your kids can afford to take a nap!
4. If your child is very proactive, and won’t be fooled by leaving home while they’re asleep, why not use their energy to make the trip more pleasant and memorable? Make sure that you have their favourite music handy, or create a playlist with everyone’s favourite music equally spaced out, so that everyone can participate. This is a family adventure after all!
5. Make sure that you have lots of snacks handy - padkos is a definite must-have! Stock up on foods that they will enjoy, but that won’t fuel their energy too much, or be too messy to eat in your car! Juice boxes and yogurts should be avoided at all costs, because even though they look really cute with food all over their faces, their cuteness will not undermine the fact that your beautiful seats are sticky with pulp!
6. What’s worse than a car seat stained with pulp? Kids puke! So if your kid/s are prone to motion sickness, bear in mind that the effects are heightened on an empty stomach, but also exacerbated by an overly full one. Rather have a light snack before you hit the road. Make sure you keep your kid/s hydrated. Stick with little sips of water, you don’t want to have them chugging down water, as that will lead to more loo-stops, increasing your travel time!
Adapted from a press release for IOL