The longer I’m a parent, the more I realize how precious time in the car with my children can be! We are in the car a lot and I used to dread the rides when my children were little because they would mostly cry or fight. I wanted to give them media devices or install TV screens in my car so I could just have some peace and quiet!!! Then I decided there were better options. I started with Books on CD. My children were quite young when I played them the reading of “The Polar Express” for the first time. I will NEVER forget how quiet and mesmerized they were by a deep voice reading a book to them in the car. They were a captive audience because they were buckled in and there was nowhere else they could go, but it kept them quiet, entertained and was teaching them all at the same time. They couldn’t do the really long chapter books at first, so we did some fun Disney stories, Jumanji, and other short ones we could check out from the library. We would have the cutest little conversations after the book was finished. As they’ve grown a little older we’ve transitioned into listening to chapter books and it has surprised me how well they listened and retained. We have listened to: “Old Yeller”, “Little House, Big Woods”, “Where the Red Fern Grows”, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”, Prince Caspian”, and several other great classics including the Old Testament (for children). If we come to a part in the book they might not understand I pause the reading and explain and they can ask me question. We have had so many amazing discussions in the car because one question would always lead to another. Often times I don’t even turn the book back on because we get so caught up talking. I find out so much about my children and their curiosities during these conversations in the car. I talk to them about so many things, ask them questions and they can talk to ME about anything.
Now that some of my children are older and can read on their own I love to have library books in the car next to them so they can read to themselves instead of just listening. Some of my friends have kids who get carsick easily and can’t read in the car so that’s where the CD’s would come in handy. Did you know the public library carries a book/CD combo that enables the kids to be able to listen and/or follow along in the book?
I have learned that the car is also a great time to introduce good and uplifting music to my children. Everybody has their favorite kinds of music however I try to feed my children a variety of all kinds of music. I love playing CDs from musicals or great Broadway shows and explaining the basic story to my children. They love hearing the stories behind each song. It’s fun to see what type of music each child prefers. I let them each choose their favorite track on the particular CD we are listening to and even my little 4 year-old has a definite preference.
Sometimes at home, there is too much going on to have a good long conversation with my children. Our car rides have become our uninterrupted conversation time. My husband and I don’t even bring a video player on long road trips anymore and my kids don’t expect it because they know we will either read, talk or listen to great music. I never thought that could be possible!!
Our time in the car is so precious! Listening to good books and music has completely changed the way we fell about out time in the car.
Thanks to my daugther-in-law Karlie for contributing this post!