How to pack to car for your next road trip.

What's On 4 Australia will sort out the car for your next road trip

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Don’t Forget to Pack Your Patience

Family adventure in Australian park with kids

We’ve all been on that one outing in which everyone has lost the plot. It might have been on the train home from the city, or at grandma’s birthday party, or whilst packing the car for a camping trip. Patience is the key to any successful adventure, especially when it involves family.

Keep priorities in perspective

Many people fail to prioritise exactly why they are going to the trouble of preparing for a certain event. Second to that, they may fail to adequately prepare for it. Are you taking the kids to a museum so that they can quietly walk around, or is there an interactive display that will actually educate them? Are you going for you or for them? Either option is fine, as long as everyone is clear on the expectations.

Keep calm and breathe

We are all aware that nowhere has the creature comforts of home. There really is no point in getting into a high stress situation and forgetting to be patient over something that would be minor if you were at home. Sometimes it’s easy for things to escalate and get heated when you’re out of your comfort zone, especially for kids. They feed off the emotions of their parents.

Take a holiday

Most of us work hard to achieve the goals that we set out in our lives. While having goals is important to many, we should not forget that we need our bodies to deliver. Taking a holiday or travelling with family members is a great way of ensuring that you reset your mind and body and take a break from your otherwise hectic schedule.

Don’t ruin the family outing!

Recently I had the very unfortunate experience of totally ruining a beautiful picnic with my kids simple because my mind was absent on other matters. They wanted to go exploring and I was trying to focus on an impending deadline. It left me cranky and intolerant of everything they said and did. By the time we got back in the car and I saw their sad little faces in the rearview mirror, I realised what I had done and it wasn’t fair on anyone, least of all them. Family time should be about family and treasuring each other.

For family friendly outing ideas visit www.whatson4littleones.com.au

Load up the car, it’s travelling time!

Who doesn’t love travelling with kids? It’s so exciting throwing them in the back of the car and strapping them in for 8 hours of rolling hills, thousands of cows, millions of power poles and a very long game of eye-spy. Sorry myhappy kids in car, family travel enthusiasm sort of waned at the end there didn’t it. These are the common first thoughts when you discuss travelling with the kids, but if you’ve done it more than once then you’ve probably got a decent idea what to expect.

I’ve got a friend who’s eldest child loves to travel; car, train, plane, anything, he loves it all and always has. Yet his younger twins were the total opposite. Even a short trip from Sydney to Canberra were torture. They constantly wriggled and annoyed each other and it was draining on everyone in the car. The family flew to Fiji and the twins tagged-team as to which one hated it more. My friend and her husband vowed to never take those two younger ones on a plane ever again. Then the weirdest thing happened, the twins turned four and were suddenly awesome travellers. In the space of a couple of months the family drove from Sydney to Brisbane and back twice without a single altercation from the back seat.

What had changed in that time? Mum & Dad learnt how to prepare for travelling with a hoard!

Here are my friends’ top tips for travelling with kids for longer than 2 hours,

  • Individual lunchboxes filled with what each kid likes (tedious to prepare but worth it)
  • At least one activity book per child with a small selection of crayons
  • A comforting toy from home to ease potential anxiety
  • 1-2 small interactive toys per child. Like a barbie/figurine (minus annoying shoes) or 2 matchbox cars or a rubix cube
  • For longer trips and ipad/tablet or headrest dvd players

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  • One good sixe backpack for all their “stuff” to fit in. Therefore, they are responsible for keeping it all together and somewhat organised back there.

You know your kids better than anyone so it is important to listen to your own intuition when sorting out the travel arrangements. There’s no need to take a whole toy box along because kids are going to want to explore their new surroundings. You’ll also want to engage on the journey like our parents did with us. You can play good ‘ol eye-spy, or the game where you make a sentence out of the number plate of the car in front of you. Long road trips can be a marvellous opportunity to explore the creativity of your little ones.

Now pack up the car and go explore. But first, share with us your top tips for traveling with kids.

Appy Kids for the Holidays

School holidays can be definitely a time when boredom sets in and often the devices that parents own (end up being in the kids hands)!  Below is a table listing apps and their suitability, age bracket, price and platform. I have selected these apps based on their educational use and what I have reviewed for using in the classroom (as an educator myself). Both my children love mobile devices, yet can use them in two very different ways.

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When looking for apps for kids to use, keep in mind that there are two types of apps. One category is purely content and the other is creative/tool based. Game based apps such as ‘Cut the Rope HD’ is teaching them about physics and this app is purely content. However ‘Creative Book Builder’ is a creative app and fantastic for keeping a journal for holidays/travelling overseas and then being able to share with friends and family.

There are various ‘app directories’ for both iOS and Android that will help guide you in choice of apps for your device. I also like supporting apps that are made by parents or teachers because of the educational value (and the content within them). Tech Coach HQ also specialises in teaching parents how to keep your children safe when playing on the device (both Android and iOS).

Top five tips for looking for apps:
1. Look at reviews of an app (just don’t buy it because your child wants it!)
2. Look at in-app purchases, is it really free or is there a hidden catch?
3. If you are concerned about buying apps, buy iTunes cards (for iOS devices) as a means of budgeting what you purchase for the device.
4. Go to http://appolicious.com/ for the app directories, and see what is recommended.
5. Finally, limit screen time. This app is perfect for this (Screen Time – Media Manager) and for Android (Screen Timer).
Don’t forget there are parental controls that you can implement on the device and you can restrict iTunes purchases (this is very important when a particular app is free, but there are in-app purchases and parents have been caught out).
For Further information about apps for your mobile device and other ‘techie things contact Megan Iemma at megan@techcoachhq.com.au or http://www.techcoachhq.com.au

2Megan’s Bio: Technology Coach and “IT” girl Megan Iemma is a thought leader in the world of technology and its uses. An educator and technogeek, Megan combined her passions for education and technology and founded Tech Coach HQ working with businesses and their teams to improve processes and embrace the productivity technology has to offer.

Fun Summer Fashion for Kids

This is a guest post by Amy from Absolute Amy

With the arrival of spring brings lots of fun new fashion for kids.  This season it’s all about colour, with lots of neon, pastels and florals for girls and bright bold colours, stripes and tropical prints for boys.  When shopping for little ones it’s a good idea to stock up on affordable clothes for everyday wear that you won’t mind being splashed with paint or mud and then buying a few items for special occasions. With so much to choose from, it’s a good idea to shop around. Here are some of my top picks for this Summer.

Girls

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Cotton On Penelope Print Tee $10

This bright and sunshiny tee is ideal for a fun day out and at this price, you won’t mind if it gets watermelon juice on it!

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Milkshake Floral-Paisley Dress $26.96

This beautiful blue floral dress is perfect for your little Miss for warm Summer days.

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Seed Star Tutu $59.95

This stunning tutu is just gorgeous for a birthday party or with a pretty singlet for the festive season.

Boys

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Milkshake Surfs Up T-Shirt $19.95

Surfs Up! This fun colourful tee is a great addition for your little mans Summer wardrobe.Image

Country Road Tropical Boardies $39.95

These bright and breezy boardies are perfect for a day of fun in the sun with your little man.

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Seed Washed Chino Pant $59.95

I love these bright and fun coloured pants, all you need is a white tee, a pair of converse and a hat and you have one cool little dude on your hands!

Happy shopping!

A xx

About our Guest

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Amy is a wife and mummy to a happy and funny Little Miss.  She is a big fan of coffee, cupcakes and high tea. She adores fashion and style, and enjoys finding ways to make everyday outfits colourful and fun. Amy loves finding beautiful things, whether it’s a gorgeous candle for the house or a fab piece of jewellery.

Passionate about charity work, Amy volunteers for Look Good Feel Better, a program to help people deal with the appearance related side effects of cancer treatment.

She has more recently become a Telethon Adventurers Ambassador, working towards a cancer free future for our children.

You can find Amy here: Blog | Facebook | Twitter