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Your tips for long car journeys alone with small kids please!

(16 Posts)
plantsitter Wed 10-Apr-13 13:27:18

I have been avoiding long car journeys on my own with my 2 DDs (2 and just 4) and after my six-hour car journey yesterday I think I was right.

I bought some cheap car DVD players off ebay for the journey and that did help a bit but otherwise they kept dropping things/ closing and then not being able to open their drinks (which I had checked they could open before we left!!) and generally clamouring for attention. I had also made them a bag with things to do in which I left in the middle between them but they found it difficult to reach and kept dropping them!

I know loads of you must do this all the time so do you have any tips for if I ever brave it again?


Meglet Wed 10-Apr-13 13:37:34

I've done hampshire to cornwall a few times with my 2.

I aim to stop every 90 mins for toilet / leg stretching / snack breaks. The first time I did it I googled some big service stations and popped the post codes in my sat nav so I knew when each stop was coming up.

They don't have tv's or electronic games consoles because I'm a) mean, b) suspect it will make them travel sick and c) too broke to buy them. I do burn their favourite pop songs onto cd's to keep them singing along.

They get a bit of water inbetween stops but if they don't the beaker it doesn't get picked up until the next stop. Nor do they get endless snacks passed over to them, they'll get some crisps or banana but TBH I concentrate on driving safely. If they whinge it's tough.

It is a bit of a PITA doing long drives but they're pretty good at finding things to spot, chat about for most of the drive.

Meglet Wed 10-Apr-13 13:43:58

Actually, I've remembered something that might help. You know the telephone cable style cords you can get for buggy book toys. I've taken them off the books and used them to attach to the handle of an Anyway Up cup so I can fix it to their seatbelt loop in the past. They can't drop them that way. But I stopped doing it once they were potty trained as endless sips of water will only lead to unplanned emergency toilet stops! A good drink every 90 min stop seems to be fine for mine (now 6 + 4) these days.

TheSecondComing Wed 10-Apr-13 13:44:53

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

plantsitter Wed 10-Apr-13 13:50:03

Brill tip about the curly cord things thanks we have loads of those books kicking about somewhere. SecondComing, I think my mistake was just trying to get the bloody journey OVER and we should have stopped more often/ for longer. I was actually planning a stop at a big park place but thought we could press on... BIG mistake.

noramum Wed 10-Apr-13 13:51:12

I agree with lots of stops, we either stop at National Trust parks, we are members, or if bad weather we check for soft play centres down the route and let DD run of steam once.

DD is not allowed books as she gets sick reading in the car. So we here lots of story tapes but she also has to survive the adult radio stations in between.

TheSecondComing Wed 10-Apr-13 13:59:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

CaptainSweatPants Wed 10-Apr-13 14:03:55

go at 6pm, let them sleep all the way!

plantsitter Wed 10-Apr-13 17:57:13

But what do you do if you need a wee? I don't think I could bring myself to leave them in the car without me, and waking them up to go in with me would be awful!

ArabellaBeaumaris Wed 10-Apr-13 18:01:14

Thanks for posting this OP. Happily do 8 hr plus trips with another adult in the car but about to do my first 4 hr drive alone with the kids (4 & 1).

Meglet Wed 10-Apr-13 18:45:56

plansitter You might want to take some reins for service station breaks. They can be heaving at busy weekends, not the place you want to take your eye off a young child. I used to strap mine to me when we went for a wee / nappy change / snack break.

I have a big British road map, print the AA route planner out and have my Sat Nav. If we get lost or the Sat Nav goes tits up or I ignore it when I think I know better then I can't rely on anyone else to navigate for me.

ArabellaBeaumaris Wed 10-Apr-13 19:14:30

Argh the more I think about it the more I am dreading it! It's all very well with two adults but even DVD player requires intervention & dd2 won't watch one. It's dd2 I'm worried about. Dd1 is a dream - audio CDs are a big hit too. Think I will have to mainline coffee & go after suppertime.

plantsitter Wed 10-Apr-13 21:37:39

Arabella it wasn't SO bad and the tips on this thread will help. I was probably hyperbolising a bit to get ideas. I think the key is to stop as soon as you think 'shall we stop?' and not try to get a bit further!

ArabellaBeaumaris Wed 10-Apr-13 21:59:37


normally I hand the kids snacks, sort out the DVD player, act as DJ, pick up dropped toys, read stories, sing songs, navigate etc & DP drives. It's just the thought of doing all that & driving that has me running scared!

When we do our 8 hour drive we leave around nap time for the 1 year old & get as far as we can while she is asleep. Then we stop for a couple of hours, have something to eat, get the kids into their pyjamas & carry on. It's a nice way to sightsee the country too.

Still think I might leave after bedtime though!

ArabellaBeaumaris Thu 11-Apr-13 22:25:49

here's a tip from my 30 min journey with the kids today - have sick bags available to hand! DC have thus far - & hopefully into the future <touches wood> - never been travel sick, but DD1 came out with a vomiting bug halfway round the M60 with no hard shoulder to stop on. Grim.

plantsitter Fri 12-Apr-13 15:46:29

Urgh Arabella. I reckon it's a rite of passage to have to change your kid in a motorway service area and rinse their top out in the sink/ dry it with the hand dryer. I rememebr my mum doing it.

Hope yr DD feels better soon.

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