Driving in the infamous Auckland traffic is no fun! Ask any Aucklander that they will most likely say the same thing! Throw in little ones – or a car full of children, and you have distraction overload.
As a family we do a lot of driving (as a mum of two small children), 50% of our week is spent in traffic, and I don’t mean a short drive to the local dairy up the road, I mean from one end of Auckland to the other. I can happily say I have ‘groomed’ them into keeping them calm and occupied and most importantly happy.
Here is a list of what I do as well as pointers on where to buy products that don’t cost an arm and a leg!
COLOURING PENS, BOOKS, PUZZLES
I always carry a couple of each in a zip bag and a pencil case of colours. They work a treat. We have recently upgraded to lap desks (purchased from Warehouse Stationery). They are great as they have side pockets to store pencils, books and all the little bits and pieces – so no mess! They’re great for homework completion in the car, and they double as a snack tray! Bonus. Kmart, and most $2 shops do a great range with prices ranging from $3 – $15 each. If you really don’t want to spend – then printouts from the internet work a treat also.
- MUSIC PLAYLIST, YOUTUBE RIDDLES, AUDIO STORIES
My kids love music so we can have downloaded a playlist of youtube music and riddles that is blue toothed to our car as we drive. We also listen to podcasts together.
Great ideas not only can you listen you can teach at the same time.
Some of our favourites include:
- Search on youtube “riddles for kids” – an extensive list of great children’s riddles.
- Search on youtube “inspirational audios for kids” – an extensive list on stories for kids with lessons and morals!
- A great spotify collection of their favourite songs at the moment our favourite at the moment is One Day – by Matisyahu
The riddles works a treat for us not only does it keep them engaged – it keeps them occupied for a while – the minds active and the backseat semi- quiet.
- CONVERSATION CARDS
I some made up cards with a list of questions – these questions are determined by them. I get them to read it to me and we all answer it individually.
They can range of silly questions like: Would you rather have a pet elephant or a pet tyrannosaurus? To serious ones like: What would you do if one of your friends needed help to stand up to a bully? It is actually great way to initiate conversations and engage with them. You will be surprised about what you learn from them and about yourself – namely for asking questions that you cannot answer because you do not know.
- ALPHABET WORDS, LICENCE PLATE SPOTTING
Go through the Alphabet and name places, animals, etc which ever theme you prefer. With a notebook write down as many licence plates as you can see. We go the extra mile and check if the number plate on their notebooks have been recorded correctly – Carjam.co.nz is a great way to check. Person with the most number plates correctly recorded wins.
Last but not least! Food. A container of snacks – fruit and juice/water is important! Don’t forget the baby wipes and a plastic bag for the rubbish! Food is always a great motivator for quiet behavior in the car, I tend to have snacks that are less messy – raisins, dried fruit is great easy to clean afterwards.
Please feel free to share your best distracting activities for the car.