If you’ve ever taken a long trip with your children, then you know what bickering in the backseat looks like and how miserable it can make you all feel.
Since kids get tired and bored quickly in a contained space, they are more likely to take it out on their siblings.
This can definitely irritate you as a parent, and rightfully so! In this article, I’ll share my top tips to stop the backseat bickering for good.
How To Stop Backseat Bickering?
1. Explain the purpose of the trip
When traveling somewhere new with the kids, it’s essential that you explain the trip to them, including where you’re going, why, and roughly how long it will take you to get there.
Young kids quickly get uncomfortable if too many new things happen at once. Taking them through an outline of the journey and what will happen will help the kids know what to expect and be comfortable with all the happenings.
2. Talk to the kids first
Talking to your kids before venturing out is crucial tip when traveling.
Gather them for a brief roundtable meeting and explain that driving requires a lot of your attention and that they can distract you if they start fighting in the backseat.
Tell them you need total concentration for everyone’s safety, and do this before getting into the car. Remember to mention the consequences of their misbehaving, including the punishment they will face as a result.
3. Plan for the kids’ energy to run out
Kids have a lot of energy that they release through fighting, crying, and whining.
You should therefore come up with a way of expending that energy before locking them in a car and setting out for a long trip.
Arrange for a play session before you begin your journey. Let the little ones bounce, jump and run around for an hour before getting into the car.
This will wear them out, leaving them with no strength to fight in the car. By the time they buckle up their seatbelts, they will be too tired and maybe fall asleep, thus giving you some much-needed quiet time to drive.
4. Feed the kids the right meals
When traveling, the type of food you give your kids can make your trip peaceful or disastrous.
Avoid high-sugar foods and drinks before or during travel. Instead, feed the kids filling foods like milk and proteins. Kids can get cranky when they’re hungry, and you don’t want that.
5. Plan to make frequent stops
This is a fantastic way to stop backseat bickering among your kids. That five-minute break to stretch your legs can be invigorating for everyone.
Ensure you mark the best places to stop on a map and discuss them with the little ones so they know what to expect. This way, they will be more relaxed in anticipation of the next stop.
6. Keep the kids entertained
You will have fewer chances of your five-year-old fighting your toddler if you keep your kids entertained in the car.
Carry some books and fidget toys to keep the kids busy, especially if you drive for long hours.
iPads or tablets also help because the kids can pass the time playing games or watching YouTube. Make sure the devices are charged and bring headphones!
7. Have a scavenger hunt
How about some road games such as an in-car scavenger hunt? Create a list of things you want your children to look out for on your trip. It could be some cattle in the field, a red van, or a cartoon-themed billboard.
Let them work together searching for the things on the list and promise to reward them once they are done hunting.
8. Promise a treat
Kids love rewards and will behave well if something nice awaits them.
You might opt to treat the kids to lunch or dinner in a kid-friendly restaurant or buy them a new toy or game if they behave well.
Be clear on the rules and mention that if your child acts out, they’re reneging on their reward!
9. Sing together
The sound of a singing child is better than them screaming.
Turn on your kids’ favorite soundtrack and let them belt it out. You can join in on the impromptu karaoke as well if you wish.
10. Set boundaries
You may wonder how to set boundaries in your car since it’s so constricted. Well, if you must, you can use painter’s tape to mark boundaries across the backseat.
Let each kid sit in their own space with clear instructions that no one crosses the border or touches the other. This is not only a good idea because of safety, but it will show your kids how serious you are about backseat peace.
11. Pull over until the fights are over
Kids are always super impatient to reach a destination, so if they know you won’t move until they behave and stop fighting, they will quickly quiet down. Give this a try!
Which is the hardest age to travel with a child?
The most challenging age to travel with a kid is between nine and 18 months old.
At this age, your baby is mobile and squirmy and still demands a lot of attention.
From 18 months onwards, travel usually gets a little bit easier.
If your child is between 9 to 18 months, you have to plan for the trip well in advance so that you may all enjoy it.
Traveling with kids is not a walk in the park, but you can’t always stay home in fear of backseat fights.
The little ones will be more relaxed if you start by explaining the journey to them and telling them how you expect them to behave on the road.
With this collection of tips to nip backseat bickering, I hope your experience traveling with your kids will be enjoyable and memorable.