Monday, July 2, 2012

2 Kids, 600 Miles, and No TV

Chances are several people placed bets on what Target store we would stop at to buy a video player for our car this past June when we took a family vacation.  If bets were made, only those who thought "no, those to would never spend money on that" won.  Yes, we successfully drove 600 miles round trip without a TV or other video device to "entertain" our nearly 4 and 2 year old children.  And no, we did not drive at night when they were asleep.  Here is how we pulled it off:

  • Bag of books, strategically placed in the middle of the back seat.  When needed I'd pull out a book and launch into an animated read.  Books are a passion of mine, and I could read all day.  Hats off to the 5 Little Monkeys series....they love it at the moment;
  • Nature magazines to thumb through -- a stack for each child;
  • Lunch boxes stuffed with fruit, juice, and crackers.  Full children are happy children;
  • CDs of kids music from the library;
  • Creative sing-along renditions of Old McDonald Had a Farm where kids give you the word to son likes farms with lots of construction vehicles (yes, I sang "and on that farm there was a rotto mill");
  • In-case-of-emergency-break-the-glass toys.  From deep in my bag in the front came a few new toys. Never seen before, one for each, quelled the whining and shouting.  Think plastic snakes, toys that squeak, pencil bags that zip open and closed.  
This method of travel avoids expenditures for gadgets, batteries, ancillary toys marketed through the videos, etc.  Very little new was purchased.  And the best part, we had a great time interacting with our kids.  My advice  - sell the video devices and connect with your kids.  A little advance planning goes a long way!

Jony's Beach, Madeline Island off the coast of Bayfield, Wis. -- the motivation behind driving 6 hours one-way.  
Photo taken by M. Gustafson Gervasi

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