I’m not a hippy, but I have to admit kid’s exposure to tech & screens these days drives me a little crazy. This coming from someone who sits in-front of the computer for most of the day. Ha! And yes of course, I totally put the TV on for them too. I’m no superwoman. But what I try to do is give them a bunch of other stuff they can do, before I default to a screen.
So here are few things that have made our trip up to Scotland a little more bearable. Imagine if you will, we started in London, then 5 hours to Hebden Bridge, 3 to Orton (near Windermere), 5 up to Dalavich (near Oban) and then 5 again yesterday to get to Muir de Ord (near Loch Ness/Inverness). Aj is a bundle of energy & craziness at the age of 3 and Lolo is the fuel to his fire. The pair are inseparable, fight like cats and dogs and are an incredibly physical crew. So here’s our plan of attack for a long journey:
- Let them get bored initially: We often start the journey with nothing. I think a little boredom is good for the kids. They naturally start to find other things to do, they end up playing with each other and yesterday I found AJ playing eye-spy with his disposable camera and his foot.
- Have a bag full of books for the car they can access at anytime: our bag is full of lift the flap books, normal reading books, a couple of early reading books aimed at Lolo, Crayola Wonder Colour Mess free colouring books (perfect for the car & at home), writing books, learning books and yes, even books where they press the buttons and the book responds with singing or talking (I told you I wasn’t totally averse to tech all the time). The free play is also great for encouraging them to find something that might suit their mood at that time.
- Read along CDs & books: He’ll want whatever she has so we’ve got 2 copies of everything. He practices his page turning and quite likes the stories. Lolo loves trying to keep up with the stories. There are other people who make these read-along books but so far I still prefer the Disney’s due to the production values and the fact that you get the joy of hearing the same characters you know and love from the films. I think it encourages the kids as it’s something they recognise. Also I totally grew up on these myself so I have an emotional preference for these!
- CDs with Stories & Rhymes: we bought a bunch: Winnie the Pooh (they loved, Stephen Fry as Pooh? Genius!), Peter Rabbit (sadly didn’t work 😦 ), Stories for 6 year olds (meh, need to try listening to them again), The Julia Donaldson Treasury of Songs (Kid’s seem to love it), Disney’s Ultimate collection (always a winner), we also have some of the more traditional nursery rhymes in English and also a selection in French (turns out if there’s a rhythm to it, they tend to like it and sing-along!).
- Snacks for the car: Yep! Food. Not because I’m interested in plumping my kids up, more because it’s a great way to pass the time. Mine at least can take a little time to eat their food. For the car we often have everything from fruit, to cheese, Nairns cheese crackers which they love, little mini cereal boxes (no milk), we often take a big box of Cheerios too which we share and other items that create a little less mess. (juice boxes, pom bears, Nak’d snack bars, yoghurt pouches). We will often leave around a meal time, this helps take up about an hour of the journey straight off the bat.
- Naturally there are other games we play with them: eye-spy, what did you see today, what did you like today. We fill in a little diary/scrap book each day full of the things we did, leaflets, stickers etc. Which you can do in the car or wherever you’re staying.
Annnnnnnd 1 tablet with a selection of pre-downloaded films and cartoons. Uhem. It’s a treat for them, so we whip it out if we’re trying to get them to stay awake.