By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA
With December celebrations fast approaching, many families are starting to make arrangements to travel to their planned destinations. While some will be traveling by car, others by plane, and still others by some other form of transportation, the question many parents are entertaining is how to keep the children busy during travel time to reduce tension, disputes, and irritating behaviour.
There really are many options for parents to keep their kids, older and younger, busy while traveling. Many family cars such as vans offer children the option of bringing their laptops, iPods, and portable DVD players with their favourite DVD collections. There is also the option of bringing portable video games and other electronic or battery operated gadgets. All these gimmicks, including cell phones are bound to keep kids busy and quiet throughout the journey.
Unfortunately, these often unsociable activities leave kids with little reason to speak to siblings and even to parents. While kids are more and more connecting to electronics, it appears they are increasingly disconnecting with the family. Disconnecting children from electronics will allow families to reunite, leading to voluntary participation in family conversations, strengthened trust, and an understanding what your kids and teens are all about.
Due to a busy lifestyle today, parents find it difficult to keep up with their work and maintain a strong relationship with their children and spouse. It is easier to let the kids do their own thing as parents tidy the house, work from the home office, or catch up on whatever is left undone.
As a result, it is vital that parents take advantage of family activities such as car rides to build their relationship with their children. Depending on the length of the journey, parents may choose to have family activities as well as individual ones prepared. If the car ride is short, it ought to be used for family time. If it is longer, parents can allow children some individual time too.
Before the portable electronics existed, many parents entertained their children through discussions and reminiscing, interactive games, and even singing. Although these trips would at times get out of hand with the kids loud and excited, these were the times parents used to nourish the bond with their children and to build a trusting relationship.
As you plan your journey to your planned destination, I encourage you to consider more interactive activities and less solitary ones. Even if you are taking short trips to the store, you can still use that time to connect to your child. Planning family activities during trips will take a little extra of your time; however, they will be worth the work when you see how these activities bring your family together during this special time of the year.
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Teens are a very special part of our society. They are our tomorrow! Today, it is up to us to inspire them to be all that they can be!