Features, Spotlight

How to prevent family road trips from becoming stressful

Child in car

While many of us are enjoying packing up the kids into the caravan or motorhome this summer, a whopping 87 per cent of parents find family road trips stressful, it has been revealed.

That is according to a survey of 2,000 parents carried out by Car Shades, which has subsequently shared its advice on cutting down on the stress and enjoying a holiday together.

The firm partnered with psychological therapist, counsellor and systemic life coach Michael Padraig Acton to provide the following tips:

Plan effectively

A successful road trip with the family starts with the planning and it’s important to ensure everything will be comfortable for the kids, including the space they have and the temperature of the vehicle.

Boredom can lead to tension among family members, so make sure there’s plenty of activities that the kids will enjoy, ranging from games to play together to things they can do on their own.

Be sure to pack snacks for the journey, but keep anything too high in sugar to a minimum, as this will only lead to excess energy with nowhere to go in a vehicle.

Manage your emotions

Getting road rage can lead to a tense atmosphere in the car or motorhome, so think about ways to stay relaxed if you experience traffic jams or inconsiderate drivers.

Have a strategy for dealing with the kids’ behaviour

If there’s more than one adult in the car then it should be the passenger who deals with the kids if they start misbehaving, so that the driver can concentrate on the road.

Remember to speak calmly but firmly to ensure the atmosphere in the vehicle doesn’t become confrontational and everyone can remain happy.

Take a break

Road trips can feel long for both children and adults alike, so be prepared to pause the journey and let everyone get out of the vehicle for a few minutes to stretch their legs and improve their mood.

Trying to stick to a strict schedule can exacerbate the level of stress experienced by parents, so plan in breaks and be realistic about how far it’s reasonable to drive in a day.

Include the kids in the itinerary

Providing kids with an idea of the route, how long it will take and the landmarks they can look out for along the way will help them to establish a feeling of control.

This is a good strategy for pre-empting issues and allowing children to adjust their expectations to the situation.

Steve Giles, managing director at Car Shades, said: “Everyone looks forward to their summer trips away and being able to relax with the family.

“However, as our survey has demonstrated, the journey can prove quite stressful when there is constant arguing, followed by ‘Are we there yet?’, and ‘I’m bored’, whilst the driver is trying to follow road signs and listen closely to the satnav’s last-minute directions.

“We want to make everyone’s holiday enjoyable from start to finish, and with that comes the initial drive to the destination. We hope the tips provided allow for a stress-free drive, enjoyed by all.”





Photo credit: Unsplash/Anton Luzhkovsky