The ride to school and after-school activities can quickly become a tiresome chore. It’s a mad morning rush — up with the alarm, out the door, and then getting everyone where they need to be on time. For working parents, it can be tough to resist the urge to think about your upcoming tasks for the day. Perhaps your child tends to be glued to a smart device, keeping to himself or herself. However, the morning commute with your child doesn’t have to be a stressful or solitary affair. As you’ve likely found, sometimes, the best conversations happen while sitting in traffic.
Especially for busy families, drive time to school and activities adds up. Using these small parcels of time well can bond you and children and assure positive memories.
5 activities to get the most out of drive time:
1. ‘Travel’ the globe: Learn how to say hello or good morning in different languages, or take five minutes every day to learn different words in the same language. Progress to learning how to speak the language your children seem most interested in or are learning in school. Borrow a language CD from the library or order one online and play it in the car. Before you know it, you have a bonding ritual.
2. Be a cheerleader: Get excited when your child tells you about what is in store for his or her day or an upcoming event. Nodding your head is not enough.
3. Relish the seasons: Point out glorious leaf colors in the fall and a snowcapped mountain in winter. There’s a joy in introducing children to, and sharing the natural beauty of, the ever-changing seasons — or one unusual sight in the landscape.
4. Learn a fact a day: There are apps galore giving anything from a sports or science fact a day to a new word a day. These can be easy for your child to glance through during the morning commute. Find apps for your gadgets online and make choices that coincide with your children’s ages and interests.
5. Sing a song: Listen to your child’s favorite songs and sing along with her. Join in with a strong voice for the catchy verses and refrains. Introduce some of your music preferences, too.
For more tips — including suggestions for shorter and longer time frames, holidays, birthdays and other special occasions other than the morning commute, visit Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day.