Just a couple of weeks ago we spent a fleeting few days down in France - pure idyllic, restful, calm, an escape from the busy life in the UK, on the edge of Lake Annecy, the perfect setting for promenading, scooters, and just strolling, seeing how stylishly the French dress and so on.
We opted to drive down, and basically take the essentials to keep the kids occupied, rather than fly or take the Eurostar.
So the Eurotunnel it was.
The car is very well-equipped and incredibly spacious, so we were well and truly spoilt. The seats are roomy with lots of leg room, head rests, air conditioning and so on.
The key criteria for me when travelling with kids, and this goes back, (clears throat nervously) to my Girl Guide days, is to always be prepared.
So when you go on a trip, look out for me. I am that Mother that always has the bag of food, drinks, snacks, nibbles, down by my feet, totally cramping my footspace, making me sit in all wierd positions. (I am sure this hasn't helped my neck, shoulder, head tension issues of late, but enough of that, some other time...)
So, with red cross parcel at the ready, boot fully loaded with items for "just in case" we headed off to Folkestone. The maps with route planned out were within arms reach, passports, booking references all in a clear plastic wallet. Yes, we must have looked well and truly organised (ha!ha!) Well, that is how we try to project ourselves!
Now I have to admit we did pack rather alot: the scooters, and with three in the brood we had to take the three, can't have any unnecessary arguments, can we?
We also took the tennis rackets and the essential green and yellow balls, water bottles, tennis bags. Plus the basket ball, football, cagoules, wellies and of course, our overnight bags. The appartment hotel we were staying in, luckily was providing the bedding, and towels, so we did not take those. We had also booked into one of those budget hotels en route, so we could get a couple of hours into France, ie just south of Reims before bedding down for the night, to then continue fresh and complete the five hours or so the next day. We have from experience, found it is just not worth doing the trip in one day, driving through the night. I for one am not in the best of moods after an all-nighter and if I'm honest I need my sleep. Hubbie would never agree that he is the same, but anyway, we have found a compromise and we stick to it.
We also purchased magazines, quiz books, joke books to help keep the kids amused, but of course, it is difficult to read and such in the car, I know it doesn't agree with me.
When they were alot younger we used to play games like "I spy!" and the number plate game, and we even had "The Travel Game" which is a card game, with either road signs on, or a cat, church, telephone box, pylon, ambulance, basically the kinds of things you would see on a journey, and the idea is you spot the item on the card, call out and the first to use up all their cards wins. Of course, you can make this more complex, and make it the best of 3, 5 or whatever, but could I find this game before we left? Was it in the glove compartment or side pocket, where I used to keep it in the old car?
No, of course not.
Was it lurking in a bag in the garage?
No, of course not.
Well then, where was it?
We ran out of time to contine our search and ended up going without it. I tried suggesting to the brood to create their own game, no, they didnot feel like it...
What about "I spy!"?
No the didnot feel like it...
What about some music?
No they didnot feel like it...
OK how about a DVD?
Yes, great OK so which one?
No, they could not agree...
Come on, you all have to agree, so you work it out between the three of you..
Well, only until the DVD finished.
Then the bickering started of new and the twitching. We needed a pit stop, so all pulled over at the next services to re-group, stretch our legs to then continue the next leg of the journey.
I think overall it does get easier the older they get, but unfortunately with my brood, they never sleep. They just don't want to miss out on anything, so I suppose that is why travelling through the night does not work for us. They would just fight all night...
And what magically appeared in the car about a week ago? The Travel Game Hoorah! So at least we have the game at the ready for next time. We plan to limit the "screen time" as we call it and stick to the traditional methods of passing the time in the car.
So tell us, what do you do to keep the kids amused on a journey?
Thanks for stopping by!
The Lunchbox World Team x
Labels: be prepared, France, travelling with kids