Hunger Games - Managing the on-the-road snacks minefield
No parent embarks on a 1+hour journey with little people in tow without ammunition. But there are many ways to approach this, so which are you?
a) Willy Wonka
"If I feed them their favourite sickly sweet, neon-wrapped sweets and chocolate, I won't hear a murmur of a whine"
b) Annabel Karmel
"I may have forgotten the pants and socks but I've got homemade feasts fit for a King for all Under 16 tastebuds"
c) Tasmanian Devil
"I deserve a medal getting bags packed, lights on timer, sat nav set. A garage will have stale crisps if we need them"
Whichever parent you are, there's a perfectly achievable middle ground. The golden rule of car snacking for children is not too much and not too little.
Hopefully you've got time for a Pitstop en-route to give everyone a change of scene. The back of a car seat seems to make it onto every child's Top 5 worst views - it's probably on mine too.
When you get to chosen stop-off point, it's often best if you can use it for a bite to eat, however if the children have munched their way through an entire pack of Percy Pigs this might be tricky - control them at a table you won't! Equally, over hungry kiddies don't understand patience and why would they? I ordered nuggets, why aren't they here?
Try putting on a great audio book (I find David Walliams or Roald Dahl our firm favourites) and setting a morsel of their chosen snack at each chapter change.
Use snacks as prizes for great word or number games like Car Bingo or Bananas.
Only take really light bites rather than quick sugar-fixes - try breadsticks, rice cakes or popcorn.
Of course, the other alternative is to use one journey to let the children control their own snack rations (make them as sweet as possible) and, you never know, it might just have the long-lasting effect of no car snack request ever again. Then again, the clearing-up experience will have done worse to you!