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Parents getting driven round the bend

London traffic

Nearly half of parents admit they find car journeys stressful – with kids’ habits and squabbling siblings adding 29 hours to journeys ever year.

A study of 2,000 mums and dads found a quarter get annoyed by kids kicking the backseat, and more than a third get stressed by their little ones complaining of boredom.

And three in 10 find toilet breaks an annoying aspect of driving with kids.

As a result, an additional 33 minutes is added to weekly journeys resulting in late arrivals and delayed departures because they have to stop for comfort breaks, as well as missed turnings and leaving things behind.

The research, commissioned by leading used car website, cinch, also found siblings fighting, mess in the back seats and children’s constant need for attention also featured as some of the biggest stress triggers for mums and dads.

Because of this, seven in 10 admit they don’t always enjoy car journeys, but parents agreed some minor modifications – such as a bigger boot, more leg room for everyone and WiFi – would help alleviate this stress for them.

The research also found nearly a third of parents get frustrated by constant questions and complaints during car journeys, with “are we there yet?”, “I’m hungry” and “I need the loo” among the most common grumbles from youngsters.

In a bid to ease the worries of long journeys, nine in 10 let their kids do things in the car they wouldn’t normally when at home – including rewards for good behaviour, additional screen time and letting them eat more treats.

Almost half of mums and dads will let their children take control of the music during a car journey, despite 14 per cent admitting that doing so can make the trips more hectic.

As a result, parents will spend more than a quarter of car journeys listening to their children’s songs, nursery rhymes and toys playing jingles in the back seat.

The study also polled the youngsters themselves, which revealed the things little ones find frustrating about car journeys, with a third saying they don’t like sitting next to siblings while 57 per cent said they often feel ‘too long’.

More than a quarter of children get fed up of listening to mum and dad’s music, and three in 10 get tired of boring conversations in the car on journeys.

The study, conducted via OnePoll, also revealed what kids would like in order to improve car journeys, which included more room in the back, unlimited YouTube videos and a ban on siblings in the car.

Other suggestions from children to make journeys more tolerable would be bigger windows, their own iPad to watch what they want and even toys to annoy the rest of the family with.

More ambitious modifications youngsters would suggest for their ‘dream car’ include seats which turn into beds, WiFi, a cinema and a sweet dispenser with unlimited treats.

But this ultimate car wouldn’t just have extraordinary features on the inside, as children would like to see it with wings, a turbo jet, legs that extend from the car to let it walk over traffic and a star-gazing sunroof.

However, nine in 10 children admitted they DO enjoy car journeys – albeit not all of the time.

A spokesperson for cinch added: “At cinch, we offer a refreshingly new and people-centric way to buy and sell used cars.

“We understand that the family car needs to suit the needs of all passengers, meaning there’s a lot to consider when choosing the right one.

“This is why we have developed the cinch Matchmaker tool, to take the faff out of finding the perfect family car.”

About Gareth Herincx

Gareth is a versatile journalist, copywriter and digital editor who's worked across the media in newspapers, magazines, TV, teletext, radio and online. After long stints at the BBC, GMTV and ITV, he now specialises in motoring.

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