Yesterday, I took the train to the IoW with my kids (my husband had already driven here as he had some things to do around the house). This is something that has to be planned – I ordered a first class ticket on the Trainline the day before (it was half price if you do this). My daughter and I had lunch at the Angel Deli and then got a taxi to pick my son up from nursery and to take us to Waterloo.
When we got on the train, there was a dude planning to sit at the table but when I asked if we could also sit there (there are four seats at a table), he looked a bit horrified and ran away. It felt rather shameful but we took the table anyway.
Tactics for coping with a longish train journey and small children:
- Get them to take their shoes off (they like to sit on their knees to look out the window);
- Bring snacks (apples and bananas – NOT anything sugary);
- Bring (washable) felt tips and some paper;
- Bring a matchbox car per child;
- Have some games on your phone;
- Bring one teddy bear / taggie per child;
- Bring a magazine for you (you won’t get to read it but it will be amusing to have it anyway).
Anyway, I succeeded in stopping the kids from running around the carriage, screaming or generally being a nuisance. The train stopped at Southampton for a while so we missed our connection to the 4pm ferry – we coped okay for the 25 minutes on the platform, the boy sat and played games on my phone and the girl pulled my hood up and down. One the train from Brockenhurst to Lymington, the children decided they didn’t want to sit in first class and preferred to sit near a lady we met on the platform (which was fine).
As we’d missed the ferry, I sort of lost control of the situation – I bought them both a treat at the ferry terminal (chocolate milk) and they ended up fairly loopy. I won’t say that they were naughty exactly on the ferry but more that the other passengers were very kind.
When I got in, my mother in law made me a delicious gin and tonic. It was most welcome.