Lucy recently guest blogged on AustralianMum.com about her tips for enjoying holidaying with kids!
Holidaying with Kids By Lucy Cook
Have kids they said, it will be fun they said. That’s ok, but no-one ever warned me of the perils of travelling with kids.
I knew it was a bad sign when we hadn’t even crossed the Queensland/New South Wales border and number 1 child vomited all over the other 3 children. In our wisdom, we decided to travel by car from the Gold Coast to Sydney, with 4 children under 5.
The trip to Sydney was for the baptism of a child of a friend. We had been lucky enough to have 4 sons, including identical twins, in 4 years. On our fateful trip, we had Master nearly 5, Master 3 and 8-month-old twins. Our vehicle was a Nissan Pathfinder.
My first helpful hint would be to space the children out as much as possible. At one point in my day-to-day travels, I stopped at a traffic light and turned around to see one baby twin’s face covered in blood. It turned out Master 2 had curiously poked his fingers in the baby’s mouth and bumped a gum. At that point, he was moved from between the babies and graduated to the back row.
Now back to the Sydney trip. Despite my optimism, the trip continued to get worse. Master 5 did not like to travel or be out of routine. The Second helpful hint is to stop often. Plan stops every 2 hours. Choose a service station with a fast food playground so children can stretch legs and there are half decent toilets and change areas.
You don’t have to buy food, stock up on some snacks you can take with you. We did stop for a night in Coffs Harbour to break the trip. An alternative to stopping often is to leave really early in the morning say 3:30 or 4:00am and travel while the children are still sleepy then stop for breakfast. It is all personal preference dependent on when you prefer to drive and how well your children transfer to the car.
We finally made it to Sydney and seriously considered sending Master 5 back to Grandma on the plane, however in my eternal optimism we continued, made it through the baptism and the drive home. It is still a bit of a blur, I think I have blanked it out for emotional health, but I do have some final tips.
Food – have some food to ration out that little hands can hold, nothing that needs opening or peeling, nothing that will melt or is sticky. For older children, some families have little treats and play the game of – Every time you fight, we throw one out the window. The children then get what’s left.
Car Games – some families have electronics, iPads, car video systems etc. Even if you are lucky enough to have these, my advice would be to stagger their use. There are many non-electronic car games that little people can play. For example – eye spy (something that’s blue/round/lives in water), a puppet show over the front seat, guess the animal – either make a noise and they guess, or think of an animal and play 20 questions. You can download some talking books that they can listen too as well. Make children a car kit each with a new little gift, something to colour, something to model with e.g. Pipe cleaners, a sheet of foil and something to read.