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Blog / Other News & Info / Are we there yet: Why do kids misbehave in the car?

Written by : sshields

Published on:: 29/03/2016

Are we there yet: Why do kids misbehave in the car?

Let’s face it, being stuck in a confined space with your family while navigating the twists and turns of a long journey can be hell on wheels, but every once in a while, it has to happen.

If the long drive wasn’t demanding enough, parents are often tasked with settling squabbling siblings, keeping the kids distracted en route to their destination and finding plenty of places to stop for loo trips, leg stretching and alleviating boredom!

So what really happens when you get behind the wheel with the family? We wanted to know the truth behind the suburban family road trip myths, so we conducted a survey among 500 parents and 500 children aged 6-12 to get the inside scoop on those supposed nightmarish car journeys.

"He started it!”

There are lots of reasons why kids misbehave on car journeys, and over half the parents in our survey put backseat bad behaviour down to siblings winding each other up. The survey found that over a third of parents said that their kids don’t like having to sit next to their sibling while in the car.

However, that old saying ‘the devil makes work for idle hands’ might turn out to be true, as just over a quarter of parents said that their kids’ in-car rows came as a result of being bored.

Overhearing your children arguing is quite the battle while driving, and having to listen to them screaming just makes concentrating on the road all the more challenging. Surprisingly, we discovered that most children travelling on journeys of 1-2 hours will throw a couple of temper tantrums while sitting in the backseat.

Driven to distraction

With all that in mind, it’s no surprise that 55% of parents taking part in our survey said that driving with the kids in tow was the biggest distraction while driving. As many as 61% said that their kids were known to kick the seats in front of them during a car journey!

When the tantrums aren’t driving mum and dad round the bend, it’s the full bladders. A third of children ask parents to pull over so that they can go to the toilet half way through a car journey.

And of course, no trip would be complete without that classic question: “Are we there yet?” The survey revealed that kids were enquiring as many as three times during a 1-2 hour car journey.

As it turns out, it isn’t just the kids who are misbehaving while they’re in the car… Almost a fifth of children taking part in our survey said that they had seen mum or dad answer the phone while they’re driving.

Let It Go

So, what are the best ways to keep the kids settled while you’re on the road? Well, our survey also uncovered some tried and tested methods that will occupy the busy little brains in the backseat.

22% of parents taking part in our survey said that they found giving the kids some sort of game or gadget (such as an iPad or tablet) to be the best way to keep them calm during a car journey. Others suggested they can usually calm their kids’ mischievous behaviour by giving them snacks to eat during the journey.

A further 17% of parents said that playing Disney music in the car was a great way to keep the kids entertained (and eventually settle them down!).

If all else fails, perhaps it’s worth waiting for the kids to wear themselves out, as our survey discovered that it typically takes 25 minutes for a child to fall asleep on 1-3 hour car journey!

Our research shows that family car journeys can be a little fraught at times – check out our video to see some hilarious examples.

However, it seems that all those usual moments of mischief are born out of boredom. If the results of our survey prove anything, it’s that always have snacks at hand, a Disney soundtrack in the CD player and plenty of scheduled loo breaks make for a more harmonious road trip!

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