My girls LOVE the fact that our Honda Pilot has a DVD player.  They have adored this feature from the second they stepped foot in our new vehicle and I quickly established a family rule that watching DVDs was only for long trips.  Being the lawyer that I am, I almost immediately defined “long trip” as a ride lasting more than 30 minutes one way.  I have tried to stick with the rule but there are times when I have made exceptions and allowed the girls to watch a show on a short trip as a reward for good behavior and although I am not proud of it, I am sure that I have allowed them to watch something on more than one occasion when I just did not feel like dealing with the whining and carrying on.

On work days, the 10 to 15 minute drive to school in the morning and afternoon is precious time with my kids and I would rather not waste it by allowing them to tune me out, focusing instead on where Dora is headed on her next adventure.

It may not be obvious but driving in the car with your kids presents an opportunity for some real quality time.  The time can be used to talk with your children about their day, to sing songs, and to just be silly.  My girls and I have shared tons of giggles in the car.

Driving with your kids is also a great way to help them learn new things.  My girls really enjoy playing games in the car and lately, we have come up with some fun games which are also educational.  Occupying our rides in the car with entertaining games has resulted in far fewer requests for the DVD player to be turned on.

For example, we have been playing I spy type games where you have to shout out when you see an object such as a red car or a squirrel.  My daughters have a blast looking for things and are so excited when it is their turn to shout out what they have found.

We also have been playing our own version of Name that Tune where I will hum the melody of a children’s song and the girls have to try to guess which song it is.  I was surprised at how many songs my daughters recognize.

Another thing that I do is to have my girls tell me which way we need to go to get home or which way we need to turn to get to the library.  It is amazing how fast kids learn their way around town!

As much as I love playing these kinds of interactive educational games in the car with my little ones, I am extremely grateful for the DVD player when it is time to make the almost 2 hour drive to my mom’s house.  I also am grateful when the girls are tired and cranky at the end of a long day and I can just turn on a show to keep them content.

Do you allow your children to watch videos in the car?  What games do you like to play with your kids while on the road?


Photo credit here.

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