Parenting tips: family road trips

Published 9:30am 12 April 2024

Parenting tips: family road trips
Words by Moreton Daily

Whether it's a day trip or a longer adventure, family road trips can help everyone build memories and spend quality time together. But let’s face it, car trips can test anyone’s patience, even before you make it to the end of the driveway! 

 To help put a stop to familiar cries of ‘are we there yet?’ and supercharge your family connection on the road, try Triple P’s parenting tips.

1. Plan ahead. Kids are more likely to whine or act out enroute if they’re not included in some basic planning of the trip. If it’s a long journey, you could show them a map or talk about spotting some of the things you’ll see along the way together. A grumbling tummy usually means grumbling kids, so make sure they’re fed and hydrated before you get on the road and pack a few snacks that are easy to unpack and eat.  

2. When everyone’s feeling relaxed, set some expectations upfront and include your children in the decision making. Together, decide on two or three simple ‘road trip rules’ you’ll try to stick to as a family, such as ‘use a quiet voice’, and ‘keep your hands and feet to yourself’. Ask your child what the rules are to check their understanding. 

3. Be prepared with a bag of tricks. Think: activity books, colouring in, stickers, a soft toy. And like every great magician, try not to reveal everything immediately. Stagger the time you give them out to avoid boredom.   

4. Take regular breaks. For longer car trips, plan regular rest breaks so kids can let out some energy. Drivers should make sure to look after themselves too. 

5. Have fun! Car trips can be long, but they’re also a great opportunity to laugh together and enjoy each other’s company with some tried-and-true car games. Try ‘spotto’ – where everyone looks out for a yellow (or other colour) car, or a few games of eye spy. Let the kids choose some music or an audiobook – when children have some input into family decisions, it can boost their co-operation. 

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Make parenting less stressful and more rewarding with a free online course from the Triple P – Positive Parenting Program. Learn more at triplep-parenting.net.au

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