With children in the car on holiday? How to keep it cozy

Children quarrel and endless questions like ‘Are we there yet?’ and ‘May we have some candy?’ How do you keep it cozy in the car on the way to your holiday destination? Two parenting experts give tips.

Anna van den Breemer

1. Choose your departure time carefully

It sounds tempting: Leave in the middle of the night, because then it is quiet on the road, and the children just sleep on in the back seat. “Probably with small children, you often pay for it later in the form of grumpy behavior due to lack of sleep,” says educator and child trainer Mariëlle Vos. Do not deviate more than one to one and a half hours from the usual bedtimes, otherwise you will disturb the existing sleep rhythm too much. So if the kids are usually awake at half past five, you can go at five. Leaving early has the advantage that you can drive a lot before it gets hotter and busier on the road. ”

2. Bring a ball

Parents know that that evening they will be sitting in front of the tent with a cold beer, which means that a few hours of hard work in the car can be done. “Children live here and now and are less able to grasp the ultimate goal,” says Vos. “The secret is to cut the route to pieces. A break every two to three hours is really necessary. Bring a ball so you can play football on the field at the gas station. It gives the children something concrete to look forward to. ”

Rotate places

Always leave another child in front. This ‘chef de route’ determines when a sandwich is handed out and can help read the traffic signs and invent games. “That way, you give children responsibility, and that often translates into positive behavior,” says Vos. “Make it festive by, for example, handing out a fun hat.” To avoid quarrels, decide before departure who is next. Because of these musical chairs, one of the parents sometimes sits in the back seat and this also leads to fewer fights between siblings.

Statue Matteo Bal

4. Do something naughty

There comes a time when the kids are having a hard time. “If you’re stuck in traffic or can’t stop, use your imagination and come up with something that is not normally allowed,” says parent coach Tea Adema. “For example, making dirty words out of the letters you encounter on trucks. Or think of strange or dirty professions for the other drivers. ”

5. Store things in a shoe bag

“My mom used to hang a bag of compartments, meant for shoes, on the back of the chairs,” Vos says. “Each room contained something: a carton of apple juice, a little coloring book, or some kind of play where you have to get a ball down a hole.” Kids are just as cute with it. “Or let the kids pack their own bags,” adds parent coach Adema.

6. Change screen time with games

Play games like taking turns naming an animal, where the last letter must be the first letter of the animal to name the next. “With us, the children’s version of disco bingo was a success, where you put a cross when the song is played,” says Vos. “You can download the cards online and a playlist is attached to them.” Audiobooks are also a good option. It must also be possible to use the tablet while on the go, says Adema. “One should not be too pedagogically responsible if one sits in the car for twenty hours.”

7. Do not lose the other parent

“My husband once got very angry at our kids because they were hard on the road,” Adema says. “You often see that in such a moment the other parent starts to calm down, but it does not help the mood, because the other parent does not feel supported. Do not belittle each other and just say, ‘Daddy says so.’ ”

8. Release the time of arrival

The parents’ way of thinking determines the mood, says Vos. “If you have in mind that you would like to be at the hotel at five in the afternoon, then you are restless in the car. The children feel it. ” If it gives you more peace of mind, then cut the trip into two parts. “For example, 600 kilometers on the first day and 400 kilometers on the second day. I always think: The Dordogne will still be there tomorrow. ”


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