Informed Families Catalyst

10 Tips For Successful Family Car Trips

Posted by Matt Sanders, Triple P Positive Parenting Program on July 1, 2015 at 10:06 AM


If you’re packing up the car and the family and heading off for some holiday fun, you might appreciate a few tried and tested tips to make the journey more pleasant for everyone.

Here are 10 tips to help make your road trip a success:

  1. The key is planning ahead. Explain to your children the need to be responsible in the car because of safety concerns. Accidents can occur when a parent is distracted by whining, teasing, fighting or complaining.
  2. Tell them about the car trip, how long it will take, and where you’re going.
  3. Decide on two or three simple rules such as “use a quiet voice”, and “keep your hands and feet to yourself”. Ask your child to repeat the rules so everyone knows what’s expected.
  4. Before you set off, start your child in an activity. As you drive, talk to them and ask them questions. Point out things of interest and regularly introduce new toys or activities to keep them interested.
  5. Play audio tapes of kids’s songs or stories, and don’t forget old favorites like “I spy”.
  6. For longer car trips, plan regular rest breaks so the kids can have a run around.
  7. Offer them snacks when they’re behaving well and get them started on a new activity if you notice them losing interest.
  8. If you’re packing a bag of activities include soft toys and paperback books that won’t become missiles in the event of a sudden stop or accident.
  9. For younger kids, learning how to behave in the car is a skill you need to teach them just like learning to dress themselves. Five-minute trips around quiet streets when you’re not in a hurry is a good way to introduce your child to the car. Remember to praise good behavior often, particularly in the early stages.
  10. With older children be prepared to stop the car if they’re misbehaving, wait until peace is restored, then continue the journey. Sometimes it’s not possible to immediately deal with problem behavior, especially if you’re driving in hazardous conditions. In these cases, if your child is crying or being noisy but is still safely secured in their seat, it’s best to ignore the behavior.


Plan your trips to avoid young children’s sleep or meal times as hungry or tired children are likely to become irritable.

Want more? Five Tips For Surviving The Summer Holidays

Source - Triple P Positive Parenting Program, generously funded by The Children's Trust

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Topics: parenting, communication, car trips

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We teach people how to say no to drugs and how to make healthy choices. To reduce the demand for drugs, Informed Families has focused its efforts on educating and mobilizing the community, parents and young people in order to change attitudes. In this way we counteract the pressures in society that condone and promote drug and alcohol use and abuse. The organization educates thousands of families annually about how to stay drug and alcohol free through networking and a variety of programs and services .

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