Lisa Thornbury: Party Mummy


Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Kids Occupied During a Road Trip

End Your Trip With Your Eardrums Intact

Top 10 Ways To Keep Your Kids Occupied During a Road Trip

"Getting there is half the fun?"

Depends who you ask. A seven-year-old will say road trips are rad. An exhausted forty-four-year-old mother of two will rock in a corner, muttering something about how suitcases don't pack themselves and how the GPS lady is so condescending. 

It's not that we adults don't like to travel. We do. And of course we want our children with us. It's just that we want them with us, but sitting quietly in the backseat so we can stare out the window, alone with our empty thought bubbles. The "children should be seen and not heard" concept is antiquated but pretty darn appealing in the face of a six-hour car ride.

Our parents survived family road trips (without seatbelts and GPS) and we can too! Here are a few tips to make your next family road trip smooth and dare I say, relaxing!

1. DO turn around from the front seat and chat with your kids.

Some of the most interesting secrets and deepest thoughts are shared on the open road. But, DO NOT keep your head cranked in reverse for long periods. I learned this the hard-painful-icepack-handfuls-of-Advil-and-a-hefty-chiro-bill way. DO NOT turn around if you are the driver. Obviously. 

2. DO bring water bottles and healthy snacks for the trip.

DO NOT let your children stuff their faces with junkfood to keep them quiet. When I was seven, on a car trip to California, I ate several boxes of Tic Tacs and then barfed all over the backseat. To this day I can't smell fruity Tic Tacs without gagging. 

3. DO play games like magnetic checkers or license plate tag, but not like Hide and Seek.

When we were kids, my brother crawled through the backseat into the trunk and hid. When my mom finally noticed I claimed I had no idea where he was. Ahhhh, the 70s. Good, good times. 

4. DO embrace mobile apps.

Shaw Go allows you to download free apps such as Family Channel, Disney XD, or Disney Junior. This will give you access to live streaming TV and on-demand content from the Shaw Go library, as well as a selection of family-focused programming—anytime, anywhere. This will also let your kids watch their favourite shows on the go...even on the road. Kid show + Headphones = quiet child and a 30-minute nap for mummy. 

5. DO provide kids with craft supplies and a lapdesk. 

DO NOT leave crayons on the rear dash in the heat of summer while you spend a few hours at an amusement park or you'll return to a waxy waterfall. Wax does not come out of fabric seats. (This happened shortly after the Tic Tac pukefest...see #3. Our family station wagon was never quite the same after that trip.)

6. DO listen to audio books.

Either give the kids headphones so they can listen on their own or listen aloud together. DO NOT listen to anything by Jackie Collins or with the words "Shades of..." in the title (unless you have your own headphones). 

7. DO travel with pets.

But make sure they are comfortable and secure or you'll be plagued by whining and barking for miles. DO NOT feed them a new brand of dog food the night before your trip or you'll end up at a gas station in Brantford attempting to clean the back of the car with paper towels soaked in the water bucket provided for washing your windshield, and wiping doggy derrieres with wet wipes.

8. DO encourage them to get a good sleep the night before your road trip.

If your kids are not consistent car nappers, this is a must. Cranky kids and confined spaces do not mix. Speaking of cranky, DO NOT stay up late the night before your trip drinking pino grigio and surfing the net. Unless you enjoy traveling in a sleep-deprived, dehydrated stupor. 

9. DO make frequent stops to run around and stretch.

A crampy kid is a crabby kid. DO NOT explore the forested area behind the rest stop bathroom. Same goes for that hole in the bathroom wall. Do not stick anything in there. No good can come from this. 

10. DO bring a bag of toys for the kids to play with.

DO NOT allow noisy toys. DO lock the rear window controls if you have young children. DO NOT attempt a u-turn on a busy highway if your child tosses her stuffed teddy bear out the window and into a ditch. 

Or you could just save yourself the trouble and fly. 

Happy (quiet) travels everyone!

Photo Credits: Woman Looking back: Emmanuel Rosario via photopin cc Old Station Wagon: Hugo90 via photopin cc Headphones: Radarsmum67 via photopin cc Child Drawing: lecates via photopin cc Rest stop: Maggie Osterberg via photopin cc Bear: -Snugg- via photopin cc


Modern moms know that tech can be a lifesaver when it comes to parenting. Now thanks to Shaw Go kids apps your kids can watch their favourite shows anytime, anywhere.

Older kids will love Shaw Go Disney XD and Shaw Go Family and your little ones can take all their favourite cartoon characters on the go with them using Shaw Go Disney Junior. Best of all, the apps are free for Shaw Cable/Shaw Direct customers who subscribe to Shaw Premier.

Download the Family channel, Disney XD, or Disney Junior apps so the kids are entertained and so you can get a few minutes of quiet. That’s something you can both smile about.