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Why I Don’t Want a DVD Player in the Car
I see it everyday.
Kids quietly sitting in the backseat of the minivan, eyes glued to Tangled on the screen in front of them, while mom chats away on her cell phone.
I can’t help but wonder if this is what our future holds.
Kids who cannot” behave” while in the car for a 20 minute commute.
Kids who can’t look out the window and *think.*
Do they constantly have to be entertained?
Would they scream and fight more if there wasn’t a DVD player in the car?
When I was a kid, we played tons of games in the car. We played the classic “Slug Bug,” we played the “ABC Game” (find every letter of the alphabet on the signs), we played the “States Game” (find a license plate from every state), we played the “Future Car Game” (the next “red” car is what “Jeremiah” will get for his 16th birthday) and we played the always entertaining “Future Spouse Game” (next person to pass us is who “Jeremiah” will marry.)
These games were fun! We would laugh and laugh when “Jeremiah’s” future wife turned out to be a chubby bald dude with no teeth, puffing away on his cigarette.
When the games got old, we would sing. We would usually turn the radio off when we sang because we were just that good.
We’d sing “You are my Sunshine,” “Row, Row, Row Your Boat,” “Pawpaw Patch” or anything that popped into our heads. We usually sang this is in “Campfire” fashion, and it was always so fun to try to keep in tune, while everyone sang different words.
We even attempted to sing the alphabet backwards, as fast as we could. Which was never very fast…or accurate.
Nowadays, kids don’t get to enjoy the drive as much as we did as kids.
Maybe it’s because my family was constantly on the road, traveling to our next ball game but we spent hours upon hours in the car, as a family.
With kids between the ages of 2 and 5 watching an average of 32 hours of TV a week, there’s no doubt that it has become an easy “babysitter” for kids. That doesn’t even include any time spent in front of phone screens, iPads or Kindles. Is it scary to think of how our next generation will communicate?
In my short 30 years, technology has overtaken so many aspects of our lives. I remember when I was in Jr. High and got my first cell phone. I was scared to death that my mom would be mad at me when I’d sent and received more than my monthly limit of 60 texts. (Each additional text cost an additional .10¢. HA!) Now kids begin texting much younger and if they were limited to 60 texts per month, they’d probably laugh in your face.
Why have we allowed the revolution of technology, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to overtake our lives? Why do we allow ourselves to hide behind technology instead of interacting with each other? When will we say enough is enough? When will we take back our parental powers and demand that our family spend quality time together again? Even if it is just turning off the DVD player in the car on for short trips to the grocery store, it’s a start. It may prompt us to make the car a Technology-Free Zone, where instead of focusing on our devices, we really get to know each other. In those frequent 15-20 minute trips across town, we can sing loudly, talk about our day or laugh at our silly games. By doing this, we are connecting with each other and forming bonds that can’t be broken.
I am so thankful that we didn’t grow up having these distractions while riding in the car. Through these small habits, I have created countless memories with my family. There is nothing more amazing than having a great relationship with not only your parents, but your adult siblings, too.
From now on, I am going to make a conscious effort to ENJOY my car rides with my kids.
Talking, singing, laughing and making memories.
Maybe while we are sitting at a stoplight next to the minivan full of “technology zombies,” they will look over and be inspired to stop the movie and enjoy each other’s company.