How do you keep young children amused on long car journeys?

How often have you been on your way somewhere and been delayed by traffic, or it has taken much longer than you thought to get there? Or even just been on a long car journey and your children have got bored and started playing up? This is a regular occurrence for all parents with young children and can be the most irritating and frustrating time as you are all cooped up inside the car. So, the answer is distraction and playing games with your children.

There are two types of games you can play in the car, educational and plain simply amusing. If you sometimes struggle for ideas, particularly if you are frustrated as your children are playing up, and still having to concentrate on the road, why don’t you write down a list of games that can be played when the pressure starts to build. This can be kept in the car at all times, and then referred to when needed. It will be easier than trying to think of potential games to play when you are stressed out.

Some ideas of games are:

The ‘snooker game’. Ask you children to spot coloured cars in the order that the coloured balls are played in a game of snooker. So white is first, then red, then yellow etc. If you want it to last longer, then you can put another white in front of each colour.

Spotting makes of cars, or trucks, or vans. This is easy as you can pick popular ones, or if you want the game to last longer, you can pick rarer models.

Reciting the ‘Times tables’. Depending on the age of your children you can give them a time limit for reciting them properly and a little reward when you reach your destination if they get them all right.

‘Capital Cities of the world’. Depending on your child’s age, you can ask them the Capital city of England or Scotland, and progress to more difficult countries as they get a bit older and learn more. It is amazing how quickly they will retain this information.

Sing songs which start between two defined points on the road. It starts when you pass a certain landmark and must finish exactly as you pass the next. You will be surprised how precise your child can be. You can sing nursery rhymes, or popular songs, but let your child select the song.

Everyone, except the driver, writes a sentence on a piece of paper, then folds it so no-one else can see what is written apart from the last word, then the next person writes their own sentence. After everyone has had two turns, someone in the car reads out what has been written. Everyone will laugh for sure with what results.

You will also have your own ideas for games, and so your this list can be as long as you like, but do keep it in your car. It will definitely help you manage and keep your cool when you find yourself under pressure with your children in traffic.



How important is playing with your children or should they be left to play on their own?

It is a Dad’s eternal dilemma! Actually a Mum’s as well. Should you always be available to play with your child or leave them sometimes to play on their own? The answer of course, is that it is a balance, sometimes they need you to play with them and other times they should be left to play on their own. Of course it is always more interesting for them if you are stimulating and interacting with them, but time on their own is just as important.

Opportunities to discover new things without you always guiding them is invaluable. Whether it is in a play pen when they are one year old, trying to fit the round object into a square hole, or when they are seven years old and trying to build a model airplane, time on their own is invaluable learning time for them.

The most precious gift you can give your child is your time and your child, although not appreciating it consciously when he is a Toddler, will certainly do so when he is older. So sometimes you may feel guilty that you aren’t spending enough time with your child. But you shouldn’t feel bad about it. If your child really wants you to be with him, he will let you know. Children have a way of communicating how they feel about any situation depending on what age they are. Of course as he gets into his teenage years, he will probably want to do even less with you. But that’s for discussion another day.

So play with your child as often as you can, he will love it, but don’t feel bad when you can’t and he is playing on his own. If you really care about him, and you wouldn’t be reading this Blog if you didn’t, you know he will be fine.



Do young children need to be taught how to get on with pets?

Part of growing up and passing through childhood is understanding how to deal with social relationships. But should these relationships be restricted purely to other children and adults?

A lot of children have a fear of animals, and in particular dogs, and potentially this could come back and bite them (quite literally) when they get older. If your child does not know how to  behave around dogs, and doesn’t feel comfortable and confident, the dog will sense this, and something unexpected may happen.

You can start to familiarise your child with dogs at a very early age. If you have a family pet, this can be from the moment your baby comes home from the hospital.

When you arrive home with your new arrival, place him in the middle of your lounge in his carry seat, and call your dog over. This will be good for the dog, and avoid him being jealous, and make him see your baby as a friend and not a threat. It will also be good for your baby as he will immediately get used to being around your pet.

If you do not have a family dog, when you meet other peoples dogs, encourage your child to stroke them and throw a ball for them. Your child will love it, the dog will love it, and your child will be learning how to interact with another living being who is not human.

He will be learning that the dynamic between humans and dogs is different to that which he has with you and other people. Of course always be careful what breed of dog it is, and how well you know the owners. But if the dog is loved and well trained, it will be fine and you will be helping your child with his relationship interaction skills for the rest of his life.



How do I keep my Toddler from getting frustrated on long car journeys? Be Creative!

What can you do when you are stuck in traffic with your toddler? You know how tense it can become as your child starts getting boisterous or screaming his head off. So you need to invent some games to amuse him and stop him getting bored.

A good game to try is “the snooker game”. This can take anything up to 30 minutes to play, and will keep your toddler very interested. The objective of the game is to spot cars which are the same colours as the balls on a snooker table.

Most of the colours are easy to spot, so you start off with red, and go all the way through to black. However, have you ever noticed just how few yellow, brown or pink cars there are on the roads? In fact there are virtually no pink ones at all, so the game can really go on for as long as you want it to. Your child will be enthralled.

A variation on this game is spotting makes or types of cars. You get to choose the make to be looked out for, and whoever spots one first gets to choose the next one to find. This too can go on for as long as you need it to.

Try them, they really work, and tell me what you think.

Do you want to Sleep a little longer in the Morning when your Child is very young?

Of course you and your partner want that extra hour of sleep in the morning when your child is a Toddler. Well this really works, and is a very simple tip. If you do this as soon as your child goes into his/her own room, it will make your mornings a dream, and literally so.

Every night once your child is asleep in their cot (which they may be able to climb out of) or their bed, go into their room and remove all the toys which are currently there, and replace them with some different ones. Of course the room must have a gate on it to keep your child in when he/she wakes up in the morning.

As soon as your child is awake, instead of calling out for you or even crying or screaming, they will find new toys which they haven’t played with for a while, in their room. This will immediately catch their eye, and they will forget about waking you up, but instead be engrossed in playing with their new found toys.

This really works, please try it and see what happens, and let me know your experiences. I would love to hear from you.