‘Are We There Yet?’ Top Tips For Driving With Kids

Wed 3rd Aug 2022

If you’ve planned a long road trip with your family over the summer holidays, you will know that one of the secrets to a harmonious journey is to ensure that everyone is happy and relaxed - and that includes the younger members of the family.

Having a bunch of rowdy children in the back seat of your car can be a major distraction for the driver, and a nightmare for anyone else who has to share the road with them. But a self-titled parenting expert has put her reputation on the line by offering a series of tips to help drivers keep their kids in check.

Speaking to the Sun newspaper, Sophie Boucher-Giles, a parenting and behavioural consultant from the Gentle Start Family Consultant has offered a wide range of advice from choosing the right snacks to having the right answer for the inevitable ‘Are we there yet?’ question.

Sophie, has more than two decades of experience in looking after children and some of the advice on offer could even save lives, particularly when it comes to smaller babies. Did you know for example that it is not a good idea for a baby under six months to be in a car seat for longer than two hours.

“It’s because when they’re slumped forward in that position they can’t maintain their airway for very long so their heart rate can do funny things,” Sophie said.

"Their oxygen levels may dip a little bit so you need to check them frequently. My baby is four months old so I tend to stop every hour. I get her out, let her stretch and have a bit of a breather."

Preparation is the key according to Sophie, so age appropriate snacks, entertainment options for the children, and having lots of game ideas in mind. Another key safety tip is to ensure the children are safely restrained as younger toddlers can often decide to clamber out of their child seat.

One of the more popular methods for keeping kids quiet is to give them some screen time, and perhaps surprisingly for a child behaviorist, Sophie is not against younger ones having access to a phone or iPad.

She said: It’s up to you. I tend to say only [use screens] for trips a certain length and manage their expectations beforehand. So tell them whether or not this is going to be an ipad trip or not.

"Then make sure you are pre-loading and turning the internet off just because you want to be monitoring what they are watching - you don't want a child to be popping onto inappropriate stuff on YouTube while they're in the back of the car and you can't see what they're watching."

And as for the infamous question ‘Are we there yet?’ The perfect response is to ask the children the same question, they’ll quickly learn how annoying it is.