Ask The Expert: How to avoid back-seat boredom
A children's behaviour expert reveals how to banish cries of 'Are we nearly there yet?' and avoid back-seat boredom.
"We're driving up to my parents' house to stay with them for a while, but it's a really long journey and I'm dreading it already. How can I get my kids to behave, stay calm and entertain themselves in a confined space for hours on end?"
Livvy Gormally, children's behaviour expert and parent coach, mum of three and the founder of Let's Ask Livvy, says:
"Keep an eye on your expectations. If your kids argue on the school run, it would be unrealistic to think they can play happily in the car for hours.
"Be prepared. Car games can be fun, but often need adult involvement to keep them fun and fluid, and often to mediate. Try to avoid any added stress on you as parents, so plan the route, think about the timings of travel and how this might impact on the kids, and remember even the best-laid travel plans can go wrong. Be prepared with extra snacks and activities, and use technology if that works for you.
"If you want to limit screen time, limit it to the times when you need the kids to have it – such as the end of the journey when everyone is tired and bored and you can't face game number 200 of Eye-spy.
"Toddler Fun Learning has created a great app for younger kids. It has fun educational content and the bonus feature of a timer function that allows you to set how much screen time you want the kids to have. The timer goes off, the app sings a goodbye song and screen time finishes – very handy for reducing the all-too-common 'just one more minute' debate.
"Agreeing on 'holiday screen-time rules' can also be very helpful. Be realistic, be specific, and set rules that meet the needs of the whole family."