How to keep children happy in the car

7 Top Tips from Lookers

“I love driving on long trips with my children” – has said no parent ever. From the repeated cries of “are we there yet?” to the inevitable sibling quarrels, keeping your sanity on long trips can be quite the challenge. And of course those noisy distractions can potentially result in unsafe driving.

While technology in the form of tablets and smart phones can help with entertainment, it’s always good to have some family friendly games at the ready.

At Lookers we have come up with some creative ideas designed to maximise the fun - and minimise the stress!

  • Pack for Success. Ask your children to each pack a small bag with favourite books – including colouring in books, pens and a small toy. When you see boredom start to kick in tell them to swap one for the other. Introducing a small difference will head off any temper tantrums.
  • Full Tummies = Happy Hearts. No-one enjoys being hungry and this is especially true of children! Keeping a cooler in the front seat packed with snacks offers another distraction - and keeps the children occupied. No judgement here on what to include – a mix of healthy snacks, drinks and treats for good behaviour is always one way to go.
  • Lose Yourself in (an audio) Book. A good read is a pleasure at any time and even more so on long trips. Pop on a favourite book on disc and let the kids’ imaginations take them to icy Arendelle, magical Hogwarts, or even hang out with Charlie at the Chocolate Factory. And of course you could join them there too.
  • Fact or Fiction. A game where you try to outwit your opponent. Choose a topic – such as a movie - and then throw out a fact (or a made up fact!) about any aspect of the production – the stars, the location etc. The aim should be to trick your opponent. For instance the character Fleur Delacour featured in a) Harry Potter or b) James and the Giant Peach?
  • Yellow Car. This game has been played in cars, if not for generations, then for many years at least. The concept is simple. Find as many yellow cars on the road as you can. Trucks, vans and those yellowy-gold cars are excluded. For extra bonus points try finding a pink car! Rules explained here.
  • Back-seat bingo. Another oldie but still a goodie. Before setting off, draw up a grid for each passenger. Then fill the squares with sights for them to tick off. There should be a mix of the easy (“a red car”) to the more obscure (“two horses standing together”). As each is spotted it is marked off the boxes – and the winner is the first to get all right.
  • Licence Plate Acronyms. Especially useful in traffic jams this will have the children alert and excited. Look at surrounding cars, identify the last three letters on the licence plates and then aim to make three-word phrases out of them. UWA becomes 'Under Water Adventure', MFH becomes 'My Favourite Holiday' and so on.

By Tracey McBain

Is this your family?