Travelling with kids: 10 things that can drive you potty
Aren’t days out with kids the best? Eating ice cream, running around exploring, learning about nature or history, the sound of laughter coming from the back of the car…. Of course we all know that these are the best things about going on a day out as a family. But the reality isn’t always like this. Here are our top 10 things that can drive you potty – how many have you experienced?
1. It takes forever to actually leave your home
Remember back in the day, when you could grab your bag, keys and jacket and head out the door in 30 seconds? Oh those sweet halcyon days! Now, you have to remember to pack snacks, water bottles, extra layers, shoes in case the unsuitable ones your kids are wearing start to hurt, umbrellas in case it rains, SPF cream in case the sun comes out, never mind herding your children out of the door. Still, it’s worth it when you get that supermum/dad glow because you’re ready for any eventuality.
2. Are we nearly there yet?
This is one of those clichés that you think kids can’t really say… but they really do! And usually when you’ve just got to the end of your neighbourhood road if you’re driving, or when you’ve just pulled out of the station if you’re on the train. No. We’re not nearly there.
3. Toilet stops
There’s nothing more fun than asking a child if they need to use the toilet, at the petrol station, being told no and then five minutes later, whilst on the road: “Mum! I need a wee!” At least you get to go back to the petrol station and buy that inflatable neck rest/picnic chair/snack you resisted the first time around.
4. The same song. On repeat. For two hours
Isn’t it charming how kids love repetition? Yes, until they decide they want to listen to the same One Direction song on the car stereo for the whole journey on your day out. Top tip: Next time you stop at a petrol station, buy some of those brilliant kids’ headphones. They will give you the wonderful gift of silence for a spell.
5. Becoming a pack horse for the day
Remember that bag you cleverly packed, with everything you need for the day? Yep, well now you have to carry it around. All day. Plus you also have to carry your kids’ bags that contain those Shopkins toys and Lego that they just had to bring with them. And their scooters that they promised they’d scoot on, but have since discarded because they decided they’d rather walk. On the plus side: you’re really building those arm and shoulder muscles!
6. Things going wrong for the kids
It’s very rare to get through a whole day out without one child dropping their ice cream, jumping in a puddle and being miserable and wet for the rest of the day, falling over and scraping their knee or losing their most precious toy. The only way to cope with this kind of catastrophe is to breathe, smile and give lots of cuddles. (And picture that glass of wine you’ll have later at home).
7. The constant asking for money
Days out can be pricey, not just the ticket price and lunch, but all those little machines that are dotted around! Whether it’s a Postman Pat truck that moves back and forth for 2 minutes, a machine packed with gumballs or the one where you ostensibly control the claw to pick up a superduper prize, kids are like moths to a flame. Our tactic: Say no outright or treat yourself to another coffee while they enjoy the machines!
8. Fussy eaters
That moment when you’re in the café, a queue is building up behind you, and your child is protesting that there’s nothing they want for lunch. What about a sandwich box, you say? No, the bread has bits in it. Pasta? You love pasta! No, I don’t like pasta. In the end, a plate of chips and an apple is the way forward and you vow to bring a packed lunch next time. Until you’re trying to get out the door next time…
9. The battle to get your kids to leave
Yes, just as it was hard to get your kids to leave home that morning, it’s even more of a struggle to corral them to go home – whether it’s moody pouts or a full-on tantrum. Extracting your kids from the fun activity they’re doing, because you know, the place is closing, can be painful. Hey, it shows they’ve had a good day right? So 10 parent points to you.
10. Tired kids on the journey home
This is when the squabbling and tears start. On the plus side, it’s also when end-of-the-day naps happen, and you know what that means… yes, that blissful silence again!
What are your not-so-sweet moments on family days out?