How To Endure the “Balik Kampung” Journey With Kids, Without Regretting Having Them (And We Mean The Kids)
Those of us celebrating Eid al-Fitr or, as we call it here in Malaysia, Hari Raya, are already preparing for the journey back home (known locally as the “Balik Kampung” exodus). For most, it would involve long-distance driving with our families in tow. Kids crying, fighting and throwing up in the backseat is not an ideal way to start the celebrations. So, here are 5 tips on how to survive the “Balik Kampung” journey with kids, without wishing you got a pet instead while maintaining your sanity.
1) Involve them in the journey
If your kids are old enough to understand that they are going to go on an “adventure”, you can prepare them beforehand for the long car-ride ahead. Show them a map of the route and plan fun pit-stops along the way—eg. ice-cream at Baskin Robbins at Jejantas Sungai Buloh or playgrounds at certain Rest & Relax stops.
2) Prevent Car Sickness
It is common among children between ages 2 and 12 to experience car sickness. (This writer remembers throwing up into plastic bags as part of every long-distance journey while growing up.) This is exacerbated by reading books and watching movies—often used to keep kids occupied—in a moving vehicle. Alternatively, help keep them focus on things outside the vehicle, and also keep the interior well ventilated and cut down on greasy foods. If the child is aged two years or older, motion sickness medication is readily available at the pharmacy (ask your doctor, of course, before giving any new medication to kids). But, have barf bags ready anyway.
3) Let the kids put together their travel kit
A few days before the journey, give each child a small bag and let him/her select his/her favourite toys, colouring book, crayons, storybook, etc. Relinquish the role of chief entertainment officer to the kids and let them take responsibility for how they want to spend their time during the journey.
4) Travel while they sleep
Plan the travel during the bulk of your kids’ routine nap/sleep times. Some parents let the kids fall asleep in their usual bed at home before transferring them to the car. If that doesn’t work for yours, then start the journey close to beddy-bye time, and keep the car environment conducive for them to fall asleep, such as lullabies on your Spotify, sunshades to keep the interior dim and pillows/support to make sleeping upright more comfortable.
Do they make this for adults? Source.
Oftentimes, travelling at night also means lighter traffic on the road and a shorter journey time.
5) Plan a long enough playlist
If you’re using videos or songs to keep the kids entertained, make sure to line enough up for the span between other activities (stops, snacks, etc). As interesting as Peppa Pig videos are, there’s only so many times the kid (and especially the adults) can watch the same video in one sitting.
If you’re into singing Hari Raya songs en route home, here’s one on Spotify that is almost 4 and a half hours long:
Which reminds us that our sponsor, X-1R, is running a contest to name the Hari Raya song and win CASH. The first week’s winner has already been announced; if you want to win some “duit raya” like this fella…