Some kids can sit quietly and are well behaved in the back of a car for hours at a time, but let’s be honest, that doesn’t accurately describe the children that most of us have to contend with.
Whether you are going on a long road trip or just making a quick trip to the local store, getting them to fall in line and keeping them happily distracted has to be the goal if you want to prevent bedlam in your backseat.
Here is a look at some practical tips and general pointers to help you keep control of your car full of kids, including a sensible seating strategy, some useful distraction techniques, and some ways to avert a meltdown scenario in the car.
Don’t allow battle to commence
You might have an idealized view of how parenting should be, but it is fair to say that your car can quickly resemble a battleground scenario if you lose control at any point during the journey.Photo by Original Little Hell Raiser
The ultimate aim is to keep the kids happy and behaving themselves before you have to tell them off or take your eyes off the road to sort out an argument that is raging in the back of the car.
A good starting point would be to develop a sensible seating strategy that works, then stick to it religiously. If you have kids that are about the same age, it should work sitting them next to each other as they can swap in-car activities that they are both interested in.
Older kids probably don’t really want to sit right next to a much younger brother or sister, so if you can give them a bit of space it should help reduce any tensions or complaints.
Get organized before you set off
It is always a good idea to plan ahead of your journey rather than trying to sort out some entertainment once you are going along.
Think about what sort of games, books, and other activities each child most enjoys doing, so you can bring along their favorite items or toys to calm them down during the trip.
Depending on how long the journey is going to be, you might want to learn more about some apps you can download on your smartphone, like a coloring book, or even a game of road trip bingo that everyone can get involved with.
Keep them fed and watered
If anything is going to send your kids into meltdown in double-quick time it is when they are hungry and thirsty but there is nothing for them to have.
There is no question that hunger and thirst can influence some very noticeable mood swings and tantrums, so head that problem off at the pass and make sure they are suitably full before you get in the car, or have some backup supplies available in zipper-lock plastic bags to keep the food fresh.
If you are going on a long trip don’t try to overdo the length of time in the car without a break. Make some fair frequent stops to take a comfort break and stretch everyone’s legs with a quick walk around, which will help to break up the journey anyway and help stop them getting restless.
You might still have to lay down the law and sort your kids out if they are behaving badly in the car, but if you employ a few of these strategies beforehand you reduce the odds of a back seat battle breaking out.