Welcome to the September 2012
Natural Living Blog Carnival: Kids in the Car
Last month, while on vacation in Virginia, my husband and I were browsing through Goodwill. There was a television on in the back of the store and the movie Lion King was playing. A young girl (maybe 5 or so) was transfixed on the screen while her parents shopped. When it was time to leave, the girl put up a bit of a fuss, to which her dad responded to with a "We'll turn a movie on in the car. Let's go." She happily skipped out of the store.
I was perturbed. Deeply. At what point in society did we come to the conclusion that children need to be entertained at all times? Even a simple drive to the store and home requires movie viewing. Really?
I, for one (and maybe the only one), do not believe in DVD players in vehicles. It appalls me that parents will pick their kids up from school, plop them in the back of the car and turn on a movie. And in some cases, turn on two different movies to suit the separate tastes of two children in the back seat! Whatever happened to talking to kids?! Does no one else see an issue with children needing to be entertained, even during short 10-minute or so car rides?!
My husband and I drove to Virginia Beach with our 3-year-old granddaughter, Laura. It was an 11-hour trip and guess what... we didn't provide her with any electronic entertainment during the drive. But however did we keep her occupied? Well, let's see.
- read books
- told stories
- sang songs
- played games
Some of the best times I remember having with my own kids when they were young involved car rides. We had fun when we traveled, which we did fairly often, as we would drive 240 miles on the Pennsylvania turnpike to visit my mother on the other side of the state.
If you are one of those parents who has fallen prey to this on-the-go technology, I urge you to reconsider. The time with your kids in the car is a precious opportunity to bond with them. If there is sibling bickering behind the front seat, don't simply assuage it by slipping in a DVD. That does not solve the problem, it exacerbates it. Yes, you may have a few minutes of peace, but at what cost? Kids need to learn to work things out, not just tune things out. And, I'm sorry, but if your kids can't even cooperate long enough to watch the same DVD, you have some serious problems, my friend.
I imagine by now I've stepped on quite a few toes. It's not my goal to make you uncomfortable. I just want you to think about what you are doing. Just because every other kid in daycare/at school/in your neighborhood has their own portable DVD player in the car/van/SUV doesn't mean your kids need one. Rise above the crowd and have fun with your kids on your drives! Here are some of the things we do with Laura as we drive. You can adjust the activities according to your children's ages.
- Look for rectangles, ovals, keystones (easy to find in Pennsylvania!) and other shapes
- Look for things that start with the different letters of the alphabet
- Tell stories by taking turns with each phrase. For example: Bill -- "Once upon a time, there was a rabbit and..." me -- "a spider, and they were arguing about who had nicer feet. The spider proudly showed off each foot, while the rabbit..." Laura -- "stomped his furry feet in the snow." Back to Bill to keep the story going.
- We also play a rhyming game where one person says a word and the next person has to rhyme it and then they say a word for the the next person, and so on. Bill -- "Car." Me -- "Star. Night." Laura -- "Right. Mouse." Bill -- "House. Street..." Well, you get the idea.
With older children, there are other games to play, like auto bingo and the Ungame.
I know you must have some car activities of your own I haven't mentioned. Aside from watching movies on the go, what are some of your family's favorite travel activities? Do you find car time a pleasure or a curse?
-----Visit Happy Mothering and The Pistachio Project to learn more about participating in next month’s Natural Living Blog Carnival! Please take some time to enjoy the posts our other carnival participants have contributed: