“Are we there yet?” Children have limited patience on journeys. After just a short time they find it boring, too cramped or too hot. Small or nursery-age children in particular still have an irrepressible urge to move around. Plan sufficient breaks during longer journeys and make sure there is an opportunity to move around a lot during these breaks. The onward journey will then be considerably better.
Travelling in the car
Travelling in the car If you are on a long car journey, you should allow yourself and your child a break at least once every two hours. Aim to stop at a rest area with a playground when you take a break. Let your child run around and play there for half an hour if possible. Alternatively, choose a country track, an empty car park, or another suitable place to park. The key requirement is that your children can move about in safety. You could, for example, try a game of moving about like different animals. This loosens the muscles and gets the circulation going again. You name an animal and the whole family copies its movement, e.g. stretching like a giraffe, hopping like a frog, flapping like a bird, etc. Encourage your child to think of other animals. Your child will find this fun and it means the onward journey will be more relaxed. Alternatively, everyone takes turns imitating an animal and the rest of the family has to guess which animal it is.
Staying relaxed on a train, bus or aeroplane
Let your child explore the train on train journeys – of course only when accompanied. The journey will go more quickly if your child, for instance, has explored the next carriage. They often find other children like this, playing the same game. On coach journeys you should always get off during the breaks and stretch. Try one of the movement games suggested below with your child. On plane journeys, make sure that the flying times are appropriate for the children’s ages. For small children, two hours is usually enough. When checking in, try to get seats with plenty of leg room. Let your child stand up and move about whenever possible.
Movement games when travelling
Watch out, a puddle: everyone forms a circle holding hands. Place a newspaper or plastic bag in the middle, which will be the puddle. Everyone then tries to pull and nudge each other so that someone steps in the puddle. Whoever ends up with “wet” feet is out.
A child plays the clown. He or she must think up funny movements that the others have to copy, e.g. standing on one leg, hopping, or swinging his arms round in circles. When the clown claps, everyone stands still. Don’t forget to take turns!
Don’t forget the picnic
A cool-box or picnic basket with water, e.g. Nestlé PURE LIFE, rolls, sliced fruit and vegetables, plus some smaller sweet treats often saves the mood on a journey. Even when driving at night, many children are unable to sleep for excitement and quickly get hungry. It also means you are armed in case the journey takes longer than expected.