Wednesday, February 09, 2011

8 Tips for Occupying Kids in the Car

This morning on their FB page, Momology, by MOPS International, asked:
Getting everyone out the door is one thing. Getting everyone in the car is another. How do you manage the kids during drive time and still keep your eyes on the road?
And I started to answer before realizing I have lots of different strategies for handling our car time. Here they are, in no particular order.
  1. Our day is set up that the time in the car is also usually snack time. Sure, I end up picking up cheerios and goldfish off the van floor more than I'd like, but it keeps them occupied and quiet. I can't say this is perfect as more than once has a sippy cup full of milk been left in the van too long. Those are gross to clean up!
  2. Othertimes, I'll arrange our longer trips to coincide with nap time and multitask that way. It makes for a nice quiet ride where I can easily listen to NPR uninterrupted (the main way I get my news) or make a call to friend.
  3. There is always the portable DVD player too. But our family rule means we don't use it unless we are going to be in the car for at least 30 minutes. And there is only one choice. I don't mess with keeping a well stocked DVD library in the van.
  4. Recently, Charlotte has been playing her DS Lite in the van. Her favorite, and only games are a Wonder Pets game and a Ni Hao! Kai Lan game.
  5. At one point we had an extra large board book that came with a music player. Charlotte could sit quietly for a very long time looking at the book and playing the music. I think it was mostly the fake MP3 player that she liked the most.
  6. We have car games - lots of them. They are I Spy!, Are we there yet?, the ABC game, the Quiet Game (but I always win this one), and maybe more that we make up on the spot just to be silly.
  7. Sometimes we pray in the car. This happens most often when we are passed by an ambulance. Its been a habit of mine for years to pray for the passing ambulance and the injured people it is helping and now it is becoming something Charlotte remembers to do too.
  8. Finally, sometimes I just let the girls play with my cell phone, either sending text messages to their grandparents or pushing random buttons. This of course, is only an option if I am not calling one of my friends first.
What do you do to occupy your children in the car?

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