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Travelling with children can be a great experience for the whole family, but it can also be an exhausting experience for everyone involved. Children are more prone to boredom than adults (or at the very least are more vocal about it), so having a game plan to keep them entertained is of the utmost importance for the sanity of everyone in the car. Here are a few tips to keep your kids entertained in long car trips.
1. Embrace the 21st century - We live in the digital age. Finding a way to keep your kids entertained with a movie or a TV show is increasingly easy and cheap. Whether it's in the guise of a laptop, a portable DVD player, or an iPad, the silver screen never lets anyone down. If you have more than one child, make sure all the children can easily see the screen. Having them use headsets will prevent the noise from bothering the driver and front passenger.
2. More digital goodies - Handheld gaming devices are another great way of keeping children entertained. Many mobile phones also have games, ranging from basic to quite elaborate, which will maintain your kids busy for hours.
3. Go old school - The digital age has the unfortunate downside of being too reliant on batteries, but you can never go wrong with some old-fashioned fun. There are countless games that can be great fun and keep kids in a good mood during your trip, and most of them more creative than pushing buttons on a keypad. Click here for some ideas.
4. Sing your heart out - Prepare a few mix CDs with popular songs that you children can sing along to. Disney is a good source, but mix it up a little. You can also turn it into a game of figuring out what movie the song is from and what character is singing it.
5. Bribery works - Pack your kids favourite toys (within reason, packing Barbie's dream house may not be the best idea), and use them to soothe any ruffled feathers or as an incentive for good behaviour. You should also pack plenty of snacks (a sensible mix of healthy and downright decadent), to hand out when needed. Use this tactic with caution: sugar rushes are just as bad as children being cranky because they're hungry.