Entertaing my kids on long car journeys

Posted Monday 21st September 2015   By Ericka Waller

Kicking off a journey with my children is painful. The second I mention the word ‘car’ they all run in different directions to collect thousands of small toys they simply must bring along, then there is the argument about who gets to sit where. It never ends well and I drive off with three snivelling children and a headache. Once we are on our way, things pick up. I put on some music and we have a good old sing-along. I don’t do One Direction or The Wiggles in my motor. Driver’s rules; I pick the music, the route and the temperature, and I will only turn round in my seat three times to retrieve something someone dropped. After that it stays there.

We listen to Nirvana, The Doors and Amy Winehouse. I regale the kids with gruesome stories of the singers’ demises, rounded off with a lesson on not taking drugs, or buying guns.

This shuts them up for a couple of minutes, that and the Hula Hoops. When choosing crisps to eat in the car, it’s all about the crumble factor. Skips and Wotsits are for fools. You want a robust crisp, one that is easy to hoick out of the seat-belt fitting.

I don’t do iPads or DVD players. I had to count cars or play I-Spy when I was a kid, and my children can suffer the same fate. It’s character building. Once they get to ten cars each of their chosen colour, they get a sweet. Again, don’t be an idiot when it comes to picking your mix. Sour-snakes might be a taste sensation, but they are going to leave sugar all over the place. A Percy Pig is fine and dandy.

Once music, I-spy and car counting is boring, I pop on a story CD and ramp up the temperature to eleven. Again, I am strictly old school when it comes to stories. It’s Famous Five all the way. I defy any adult not to get sucked in. If the children fall asleep, now is a good time to eat lots of their Percy Pigs in peace.

It’s going to be nearing pit stop time by now. I try and avoid service stations as the children will all want a magazine which will cost £5 each and have a toy on the front that breaks in under five minutes and causes a twenty-five minute sob-fest. I look out for a secluded spot where we can wee and stretch our legs at leisure. (NB: Look out for dodgy parked cars before pulling up and peeing).

Once back in the car, spend the remainder of the journey looking out for landmarks which show you are near your destination. If you don’t know any, just make some up.

If all the above fail, pass them a copy of the Argos magazine each and ask them to look through and pick what they want for Christmas.