Tips For Car Trips With Kids

Car rides can be boring for all involved, not just children. Making it worse is the fact that many children can’t read or can’t focus on something stationary like colouring without suffering from travel sickness. That doesn’t leave many activities to play around with other than talking, word games or singing.

For quarrelsome siblings the confined space can be intolerable, leading to more frequent and unbearable arguments. For the younger children it can be a good idea to separate siblings with a “pillow barrier”. It may not end all bickering but you will at least avoid the territory wars.


If you’re on a long car trip (more than a couple of hours), stop frequently. Plan breaks ahead of time by marking them on the map, around every 45 minutes or so, and stopping, even if for only five minutes, for a stretch break.

The Entertainment

Children of any age love music and why wouldn’t they? Keep a wide variety of their favourite songs to hand as music is wonderful for changing the atmosphere when the mood needs changing.

For the older children you can play word games. Find an object out the window beginning with each letter of the alphabet or try a round of 20 questions. Even younger children can join in a game of “I Spy”.

For older kids that can spend longer lengths of time concentrating, try books on tape. These are available at your local book store or from the library. The whole family can enjoy the classics.

Goody bags of toys, surprises, and game suggestions are helpful. Allow them a new game once an hour, or, when desperate, once every half hour.


No matter how eager you are to please the children don’t give in to the pleas for sweet or sugary foods. Why hype the kid up any more than he already is?

Instead try dried fruit pieces or cereal bars to keep them going. Bottles of water are a must, as well.

Time to Travel

The time you leave home will obviously depend upon whether you have a plain or train to catch. However, if you’re only travelling by car try either driving at night when your little one will most likely sleep anyway or leave just before his/her daily nap time. There is no sense in leaving after his nap when he/she is excited and full of energy – they really won’t thank you for being confined to a car seat then.

Remember to provide enough time for those extra stops you will need to make for your child, either for toilet breaks or to let a toddler run off some pent up energy.

It is a good idea to end your driving day early so everyone will have the chance to unwind after a long day on the road.

Complementary Therapy Tips

Traffic jams often make driving a hot and frustrating time, but passengers and drivers alike can be kept cool and calm by one drop of essential oil of lavender on one or two cotton wool balls placed in the side pockets in the front of the car. This oil is not only antibiotic and antiseptic but it also soothes the nerves. Don’t worry – they won’t make the driver sleepy, but will keep him/her on an even keel, calm but aware.

For more lengthy journeys the driver can put two drops of basil oil in his/her morning bath, or on to the face cloth after washing in the shower and rub it over the body. This will help heighten concentration and keep the driver alert.