Have you noticed that the Back-to-School displays are up? Yes, it’s getting to be THAT time of year.
According to HopSkipDrive, a transportation network organization, 38% of parents spend more than five hours a week driving their kids here and there with a third of them saying they spend more than 10 hours. Another survey said that the average parent spends 47 days of their child’s growing-up years, driving them around.
Some parents complained because the car time was interrupting their work schedules or keeping their kids from enrichment activities.
But wait! Why can’t car time be valuable time? Why can’t car time be enrichment time? If screens are off (and parents have the prerogative of telling kids to turn them off), cars can be some of the best places for great conversations.
So I started thinking … what are some some ways parents can make car time valuable time?
Some of my ideas … (Please comment, adding any others.)
1. Conversation. This is common sense. Often kids are more than willing to talk in the confines of a car, especially if they’re alone with a parent. Picking them up after school, sports practice, or church events, gives you an opportunity to ask how things went. Talking to them immediately after the event, often gives you insight you might not get if you waited until after dinner.
2. Listen. Why not download audio books that both you and your kids will enjoy? (One example is Focus on the Family Odyssey programs, Our church library has a ton of them.) Or, how about a Christian radio program that would interest both you and your kids?
3. Research. Ok, they have their phones, so challenge them to look up information. Where was the Salt Road? How does knowing about it help explain verses like Matthew 5:13 or Colossians 4:6? Or, “I read that today was the birthday of Galileo. Why is he important?” (Galileo always gave credit to God for His creation.)
4. Plan. Is meal planning a task you don’t especially enjoy? Why not plan your meals with your kids (in the car)? Assign a child to make a list as the rest of you think of what you’d like to eat.
5. Memorize. If your kids are assigned verses for church or Christian school, memorize those. Otherwise, choose a chapter for all of you to memorize this coming year.
6. Pray. Challenge your kids to pray for relatives and friends. Pray for people you pass on the street. Pray for the people who attend the churches/mosques that you pass.
7. Create. Make up a story together with each person adding a line.
8. Look. As you ride, look for a restaurant or store that looks interesting but that you’ve never visited. Determine to visit it sometime soon. (Or see how many different routes you can take to school, church or wherever you go several times a week.)
9. Ask. Ask kids tough questions. Play Bible trivia. Or ask them “What would you say if someone asked you how to become a Christian?” “Do you think Christians sin?” “Why do bad things happen to good people?”
10. List: Bible women, Names of God, Bible children, Bible men, Bible places.
Be creative. Take advantage of those moments when you’re in the car with your child.