Managing Monday’s: Are we there Yet?

Managing Monday’s: Are we there Yet?

Are we there yet? It is a question we all have heard. The car ride could just be beginning or ten hours in. It is a joke, and yet it is a nightmare. I know it has gotten easier with iPad, iPods, game boys, portable DVD players and all the other electronic devices that are available. I also think it has taken away a huge part of the bonding and communication that happens no other way. Some of the best times I remember as a child were traveling in our old blue station-wagon from our home in Washington state to my maternal grandparent’s home in Ft Collins, Colorado. I know we fought, I know my two sisters and I, made the trip miserable at times for my parents. Yet what I remember is the singing, the alphabet sign game, the license plate game and other ways we learned to pass the time.

I have traveled with four younger children, and I am all for every distraction possible. I am not a technology snob, a purist, or a sadist by any means. I have used every one of those gadgets at one time or another. My discovery is that as my kids get older the time with them is very limited. To have them in a car with no escaping is both terrifying and an incredible opportunity. Some of the best conversations I have had with my pre-teens and teens have been in the car. When my eyes are on the road, not on them, the hum of the road and the scenery whipping by somehow seems to open their mouths and an intimate conversation begins.

If I limit, or have a no electronic road trip, the agony of their protests of sheer death by boredom or game withdrawal fits are horrible to endure. We have, after many animated conversations and colorful arguments come to the compromise of two hours unplugged for very one hour plugged in. The other thing we have added to our road trip time is books on cd. This has been a great way for us to pass the time, but still be connected to each other. We have listened and had conversations about books from Roald Dahl’s “BFG” to last summer when we listened to “Hunger Games”.

We still get in arguments and I still hear the “Are we there Yet? It is not a perfect solution, it’s just a small suggestion from a family who has spent many hours in the car together and tried to find a balance between tuning out and tuning in. Thus giving road trips a good memory once more.


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