With the summer holidays fast approaching, the dreaded trip to Dover becomes a daunting reality with “Are we nearly there yet” echoing in your nightmares. Keeping the children entertained during such long journeys is a constant battle of boredom, irritability and tiredness and unfortunately the latter only ends in screaming rather than hours of blissful sleep.
Disney recently contacted 5,00 British parents and found out that more than 80% of parents admitted to handing their child an iPad or equivalent to stop them from getting bored during long journeys. The parents said this tactic gave them up to an hour’s peace and quiet, one hour less of “I’m bored” is a real saviour of sanity when you’re contesting with the SatNav and your husband’s new found ‘knowledge’ of local Geography.
A shocking comparison saw that only 14% of parents saw the same amount of peace and quiet when solely relying on good old fashioned travel games such as I spy and unsurprisingly a mere 5% of parents say they enjoy the same amount of quiet time without games or tablets. These are the lucky ones whose children are very good at being sleeping lions.
If you’re not lucky enough to be in that 5%, the survey showed that more than two thirds of children request to play on tablets and smartphones while travelling, compared with 50% asking for sweets and snacks so you might be in luck if your work phone also doubles up as a paradise of apps.
We’ve put together some tips for making long journeys a fun occasion for all the family and if you’re still stuck for ideas we suggest leaving the children with the mother-in-law.
- Break up the journey – An essential when travelling with little ones as toilet breaks are all too frequent. Plus a bit of fresh air and a run around a service station really works wonders. If you fancy something a bit more special you could research tourist attractions along your journey to ease the boredom.
- Activity books – Cheaper than a tablet and absolutely no chance of nonsense texts getting sent to your boss. If your child loves to read you can opt for the traditional story or picture books but failing that puzzle, drawing and colouring books are a sure way to whittle away the hours.
- Word games – Yes it’s a classic but a good old word came still provides entertainment for the whole family. We suggest I-Spy, Word Association and 20 Questions for guaranteed laughter.
- Cameras – If you’ve got a digital camera and you trust your children with it a fun way to pass serious journey time is to get your children to take as many photographs as you can, the one of mum catching flies would be a great addition to the holiday album. If you’re feeling extra creative why not make a list of things for your children to photograph. If a four year old with a digital camera makes you feel uneasy then why not pick up a cheap disposable camera and see what kind of weird and wonderful things your child likes to photograph once developed.
- A tablet – although expensive, it is the clear favourite as per Disney’s research. A tablet is enormously flexible with hours of endless activities, films and games to keep children entertained. We suggest downloading a variety of media onto the tablets so that you don’t waste all that money on one unsuccessful defeat on Angry Birds and the boredom strikes again. Try downloading a mix of books, films, puzzles, educational apps and a few different games.