The cry of impatient children the world over – “Are we nearly there yet?” – has been sending a chill down the spines of parents since Henry Ford set the first Model T on the roads of Detroit in 1908.
Back in the early 1900s the experience of being in a motor car was still incredibly novel and so they lasted at least half an hour before muttering those immortal words.
Now you’re lucky if you get 10 minutes down the road before you hear it.
With a 2 day voyage up to North West Scotland this Saturday our mission is to get there without hearing it.
My wife and I have been planning the journey with military precision.
Games, songs, CDs, DVDs, books, breaks, medication…
We’re banking on our pre-drive preparation for a stress-free drive.
I promised that I would share some of our kid quietening activities, and many of you have also been very helpful with suggesting some others.
Here are our weapons of choice in the quest for a whinge-free journey:
Our kids are 4, 7 & 9 so the playlist is fairly mixed, but fortunately they’ve been exposed to enough of our musical preferences that their taste extends beyond the Frozen soundtrack and nursery rhymes.
Don’t judge me! iPads and portable DVD players are a godsend for a couple of stints of guaranteed quiet in the back.
The ultimate classic car game. We play this for a few minutes at a time until it becomes more of a referring contest than light hearted entertainment.
Pick a colour and count the cars you spot between one junction and the next. Silver ones don’t count otherwise it’s a landslide every time.
This is great for kids of varying ages because you just select age appropriate questions: “Name 3 types of animal”. “3 colours”. “3 numbers divisible by 7”… and so on.
With 3 kids, 4 of 5 questions each can whittle away 10 minutes and hey, it’s educational so you win yourself a few parenting points back after the DVD cop out!
Classic – just make sure you pack something to lean on.
The party favourite – one person is a mystery character and then the others take it in turns to ask yes / no questions to discover who it is. Literally minutes of fun with this one.
We’re a bit of a Von Trap family so there’s lots of singing on our trips. I’m not always 100% on the real lyrics but I find it’s the enthusiasm that counts rather than accuracy.
The last couple of hours of our trip will be driving through some pretty spectacular scenery so we’ll be encouraging the kids to look out the window and soak it all in.
The goal is to still have all 5 passengers on board and in one piece by that point, so this entertainment schedule is going to be key.
We’re going to have so much fun the kids are going to be disappointed when the journey is over.
Are we nearly there yet? More like “Drive a little slower Dad this is the best road trip EVER!”