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Don't Waste A Car Journey

Quality time stuck in a box on wheels. Really? Yeah, why not?

kids in the back of a car

Whether it’s 5 mins to school or a 2 hour jaunt to visit relatives, it’s time that shouldn’t be wasted. When you have the opportunity to have some quality time away from the distractions of TV or video games take it. For this reason, don’t let kids use iPads and iPhones in cars except for longer journeys, and even then not for the whole time. Kids slouched in the back of a car with a phone three inches from their face is not doing them any good. Aside from the health implications on their eyes and posture, there’s really no need for them to isolate themselves from the world on short journeys. Of course if you’re on a 4 hour road trip, keeping everyone happy and occupied can be tricky, especially when you have 3 little ones squabbling in the back. In this case chuck a movie on an iPad or something by all means.


Car Basics

When you have kids (especially younger ones), ALWAYS have bottles of water, tissues, non-crumbly snacks in the car and have them go to the toilet before you go. Without doubt kids will say they are thirsty, start sneezing, need a wee they can’t hold in, or be hungry. Now personally I don’t let my kids eat in the car now that they’re older. Having three little kids in the back eating snacks for many years, I found myself putting cockroach baits down and killing ants feeding on all the crumbs from chips and who knows what else. So now, no food, except lollies and muesli bars or food that won’t crumble everywhere, but hey that’s just me. Bottles of water for any trip out with kids is a must. The number of times I’ve been caught out either in the car or at the shops when suddenly they NEED a drink like they’re about to die. Having to buy three kids, three bottles of water in the shops is around $10 for stuff that comes out of a tap. If I’m gonna buy kids a drink out, it’s a treat, like a milkshake or lemonade or something, but I hate paying for water.


School children in car

Get Them Using Their Melons

So, quality time in the car. A school run is a great time to interact. Ask them what lessons they have on, what they’re most looking forward to, what they aren’t. Take an interest, listen. If they mention maths, ask them what they’re studying this week. Quick fire some maths facts at them or play a language game. Throwing questions like if ‘I have 60 apples and a horse eats 24, how many are left?’ (Obviously, alter this to the ability of your kids) is a good example. Or have them recite the 3 times table, play a noun game where you each take turns naming objects found in say a kitchen, or naming how many makes of car they can think of. Basically, anything to stimulate their brains and get them thinking, switching them on ready for school.


Good Conversations

On the way home from school have a debriefing. Not just ‘How was school?’ but delve a bit deeper. What was the best part of the day, what did they not like, what surprised them and get them to tell you one thing that they learned. One thing they now know today that they didn’t know when they got up this morning. Ask them what they did at lunch, who they played with, what they played. It’s quality time that often gets wasted, as these conversations can get lost in the hectic day to day. But car journeys, are a great time to listen and really get to know your kids without other distractions.


meme of fist punching a VW beetle

A Bit of a Giggle

For journeys that aren’t school runs, you might be sick of it but kids will play ‘I Spy’ for ages. Some other good ways to spend a car journey: Play ‘Would you rather?’ Great fun. You come up with two scenarios and the others have to decide which of the two things they’d rather do. It often starts out clean like ‘Would you rather go skiing or go to the beach?’ But quickly degrades into ‘Would you rather lick a cat’s bumhole or drink a tablespoon of dog urine?’ (depending on your kids!). A modified version of this is ‘How much money would you want if you had to…’ You get the idea.


Surprised child in car

Brainwashing for Fun

I often use car journeys to expose (brainwash) my kids into good music. That’s why my kids mostly request 90’s one hit wonders these days! Podcasts are good too. Spend a bit of time downloading some on a playlist on Spotify, even if it’s just a story being read. And apparently radio still exists. Who would have thought? News, current affairs, chat shows. Just don’t waste a journey letting them stare at Tik Tok. And you know what…letting them stare out the window and get bored is not a bad thing. Getting bored often leads to creative thought…Just don't waste a car journey.


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