Remember when a road trip meant hours of staring out of the car windows, watching the scenery, counting cows or cars? If your family was creative, maybe you read books aloud to each other or played the alphabet game. Yes, sometimes road trips were really long and very boring.
The other day it hit me how different it is for our children. My kids plug into their iPods, watch a movie, play video games, and basically have no idea if we just drove past the most beautiful mountain or not. Sad, but as mom of two, it’s kind of nice to not hear 101 times “are we there yet?!”
However, I wonder how well our plugged-in kids will be able to get around when they have their licenses. I have a few friends who have admitted that their kids have no idea how to drive to their best friend’s house or even their school, although they’ve been driven there plenty of times before. Could it be that they are so plugged in that they have never paid attention if they take a left or a right? Are we doing our kids a disservice by allowing them to not get bored on long car rides?
The other day I was driving my 12 year-old daughter and my 11 year-old nephew home from vacation. The trip should’ve taken 4 hours tops, but there was a lot of traffic and rain. To top it off, the DVD player wasn’t working and neither one of them could find their iPods. The horror!
But, to my surprise, we all survived. We had played a few games, sang a few tunes, stared out the window and took a nap (well I didn’t). And, I think I only got “are we almost home” two times.
We’ve touched on this subject before at the Farmers’ Almanac, specifically about texting and cell phones. While I agree that technology is a wonderful thing, and am often grateful that my kids can plug in on a long road trip, I also wonder at times if all of these distractions are part of the reason why some kids are so over stimulated that the sight of a beautiful landscape just doesn’t make them excited.
What are your thoughts? Are all these gadgets too much? Or just enough? I try to teach my kids that everything should be done in moderation. So while watching one movie on a long trip might be a good idea, so is looking out the window and counting cows on a shorter trip.
What are your road trips like? How do you balance technology with over stimulation?