A Family Car Cruise: A Bonding Experience

Figuring out ways to keep the little ones entertained during the pandemic has been challenging to say the least.  It feels like each day our options are getting more and more limited.  Plus with them learning online most of the time, winter weather, and not being able to see anyone – literally, cabin fever is quickly taking hold.  We can also do house bound activities for so long (cooking, drawing, games, etc.).  We had to figure out something to give them their outdoor fix, even for a little while without it being too taxing on us to prepare for and take on.

So we decided to do family car cruising for a good 30min to an hour everyday.  I have to tell you, this is surprisingly been the highlight of all our pandemic memories.  Here some key points to think about if you are considering this, keeping in mind we have a 9 and a 2 year old that this has worked wonders for:

  • With no electronic devices allowed on this car rides, we are absolutely limited o our music  (CDs, MP3s, and Radio should be prepared before you go out, I make sure I have 3-4 CDs ready that I know my kids don’t mind listening to).  This does not mean putting kid music, but make sure you have clean versions of some popular songs to avoid the awkward curse words that come up, or the Radio channel that most of you agree on.  Also worth putting in seasonal music if its Christmas, Halloween, or someone’s birthday.
  • These cruising rides are great moments where you and the kids are literally trapped together to talk about things.  We have been lax in keeping our family dinner night tradition which was out conversation focal point, but these rides have more than made up for it.  Conversations have ranged form a variety of topics. We don’t prepare topics before hand to discuss – too formal for our style – but nothing to stop you from doing that.  A great time to talk about your kids issues, anxieties and worries, make sure you have calm music in the background if the conversation gets well underway.
  • Every ride we bring snacks and our coffees, the odd time we pass by which ever drive-thru is open, however this is not our lunch meal, but having snacks gives the kids something to look forward to – certainly keeps our two year old’s mouth busy.
  • Nothing wrong with silent moments in these car rides, in fact it’s a great time for kids (and adults) to just pause, enjoy the scenery and listen to music.  Yes we have our conversations, but we don’t have to fill every moment with talk – and having scenery in the car window along with music makes these moments of pause all the more tolerable for the kids.
  • Plan your routes ahead of time, I try to make a new route every day, however it’s inevitable to run out of ideas so have at least 5-6 routes, ideally ones with nature and nice scenery and make them your favourites in Google Maps to use again and again.  I have scene places in my City that I never knew existed in my lifetime.  Great way to explore your City and those nearby.  Keep them short, and put extra time for traffic, lights, and the odd detour to see some new places.
  • Inevitably my two year old will have her days where she is extra moody.  So make sure you are flexible, and even if 5 min into the drive your kids become irritable and start screaming – head back.  Those 5 minutes are still better than nothing to give them their “outside” fix.  More importantly it’s to give them a sense that the world outside their house continues to move along despite these isolating times.

Has this been something you and your family have taken on?  Even if it’s a solo drive or a couple?  If so has it been a God-send for you too during the pandemic?

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