I don't know about you, but I go all ''Van Gogh'' on long road trips.
It's lovely to talk to the children for about – ooh – an hour or so. Then I want to cut off not one but both of my ears, yearning for the sounds of silence.
Put simply, if anyone else asks "Are we there yet?" I'm going to stick pencils up my nose.
For better or for worse, the Christmas/New Year period is the peak time for family drives. But after far too many marvellously ear-bleeding adventures, I've run out of suggestions for distractions.
Fortunately, the good folks at carhireexcess.com.au have come to the rescue, with quirky ideas of their own.Here's a fast five.
1 Create personalised binders with activity sheets, games-on-the-go, and maps of your route. Better still, get the kids to create them, as their contribution to the holiday planning. Or encourage Dad to do it: often, this tedious stuff is considered ''mothers' work''.
2 Attach small baskets of toys and healthy treats to the car windows with suction pads. Then, you're less likely to hear the call of the wild four-year-old: "The glitter pen rolled off the seat, Mummy. Can you get it for me? I WANT MY PRETTY PINK PEN. WAAAHHH!"
3 Audio books played through the car speakers are the perfect way to soothe those back seat beasts. Just make sure it's something the whole family can enjoy. In a world where there are few certainties, nothing is surer to tip you over the edge than The Wiggles on high rotation. It'll put you off mashed potato for life.
4 Teach the children about your final destination, and quiz them during the journey. Award ''experience'' prizes for correct answers. For example, whoever gets the most questions right can choose the first family activity when you get there. (Then, of course, bribe them to choose whatever it is that YOU want to do. "Yes, Amelia, I think we should go to the pub, too!"
5 Do a road trip scavenger hunt. No, this does NOT mean picking up dead possums along the highway. Search for online printables which feature pictures of common objects, like letter-boxes, bridges and traffic lights. They'll spend hours crossing off each one as you pass by. Again, think of a prize for whoever spots the most items.
The most important advice is to stay safe. And the best way to do that is to reduce frustrations. Take a deep breath, and try to relish this special time together.