How do I stop my kids from fighting?

Ask Shane: Episode 2

In this second installment of Ask Shane, the BIG4 ambassador offers sage advice on road-trip conflict - more specifically 'How to stop your kids from killing each other on holidays'.

Hi there Mr Jacobson,

Just wondering if you have any tips for an over-packer? My husband doesn’t understand the definition of packing light. - Beryl, Ballina

Shane: Yep, neither do I, Beryl. I’m the wrong person to ask because everyone says ‘less is more’, but imagine how much ‘more is more’ is, and that’s what I‘m like.

If you’re going camping or to a caravan park you can and should take a bunch of stuff with you. There’s room.

You’ve got to leave room for the kids, though. Oh, hang on. Having said that, I dunno, is it a plus being able to fit the kids in? You tell me (laughs). I probably shouldn’t say that.

On a serious note, I tend to take too much of everything when I go away. When I fly on aeroplanes it’s different: I take very little, because I fly a lot.

On a holiday, when you are going to a caravan park, you can take so much more. You can leave stuff in the car, in the room. You take a cricket set, a footy, a couple of boogie boards – you need lots of stuff for different activities.

If you can fit it in the car, you haven’t overpacked I reckon, unless you can’t fit the kids in the car. If that happens you’ve blown it.

But nothing makes me prouder to see my driveway and front yard full of stuff, and then an hour later you shut the back door of the car and go ‘Well, we got it in!’

I love seeing if I can jam it all in the car. It’s an achievement.

Cricket matches bring the whole family together on holidays.  

Boogie boards are important if you are heading to the beach for your getaway. Pack 'em in.

Pack a couple of these too, they really are fun to bring along. 

Hi Shane,

I’d love it if you could please help us out. We have two children who constantly fight when we’re on a long road trip. We’ve tried just about everything, including groundings and bribery. Any advice? - Desperate parents, Mt Eliza

Shane: Great question, thank you. What my wife (Felicity) and I do is we take several deep breaths, close our eyes and count to 485 billion, and by then the kids will have turned 18 and you can tell them to leave the house (or car).

Up until that point I’m like everyone else, I have no idea how to solve this problem. If anyone out there has the answer, please feel free to take out a full-page ad in your local newspaper. You are about to be very rich.

Kids making noises in the back of the car is what they do. It’s like trying to tell the waves to stop crashing on the shore. It’s not going to happen.

To combat the problem, you’ll often hear me saying things like ‘Oh for goodness sake, can you give it a rest, can I just have a minute, just … just … ugh!!!’ Can I just have a minute’s silence?

There’s no cure for this. Honestly though, we play music, we bring a little movie player where the kids can watch a movie on long trips. They are allowed to pick one or two movies they can all watch, but even then there’s still arguments.

There is no cure known to man for this one.

It always starts out as fun, but it often ends in tears. 

Yes they are cute, but don't be fooled. 

Even when the cuteness scale reaches OMG-level, travelling with kids is challenging.   

Hi Shane

My partner has a not-so-subtle way of trying to make me diet by plating up salads every meal whilst on our holidays. As a result, I’m always hungry. Any thoughts on how to deal with this monster? - Meat-Eater, Perth

Shane: Thanks Meat-Eater, I’ve always thought salad only went on my plate as a soft landing for the steak and the sausages. I wasn’t aware it was a food to be honest.

I honestly thought its purpose was to make sure the meat isn’t bruised. If what you are trying to tell me is that there are people out there eating this stuff (salad) well that’s news to me. It hasn’t happened on my holidays.

Seriously though, the one time I do enjoy salad is at a barbeque when you use it with a bit of bread in a burger. It’s just that you don’t want it (salad) to be the only thing you are eating (laughs).

I’ve got many friends who don’t eat meat and I go to barbeques with them quite often because there’s so much meat left.

Meat, the diet of (most) humans for thousands of years ...

... and a salad absorbing any potential bruising of the prime cut. This is the reason salad was invented, says Shane. 

Look, salad is great for you. And it only needs to be eaten in moderation.

Got a question for BIG4's titan of holiday tips? Send your questions to Every letter we publish will receive a signed copy of Shane Jacobson: The Long Road to Overnight Success.

Find more of Shane's written work here. 

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