All of us aim to make family bonding a priority. But between work, school, extra-curricular activities and weekend commitments, it can seem difficult to plan for quality time when you’re always rushing to get to the next place. Instead, treat the minivan as an extension of the family home. Create opportunities to engage with your children and help them build healthy habits for leading a happy life. Next time you’re driving your children to school or taking a family road trip, consider these helpful tips for how to make the most of family excursions in the car.
1. Give Everyone Their Space
Just like at the kitchen table, give everyone their designated spot in the car. Allow your kids to choose their favourite colouring book or novel to leave in the storage area near their seat. This way, your child always has an activity to occupy their time, and you can help them choose a new item each month.
2. Have a Game Plan
Use the middle console or armrest as a table and break out a deck of cards for an impromptu game of Go Fish or Canasta. Organize a game of Eye Spy or spell things with license plates. Just like best friends, families can have inside jokes, too. When you’re parked, have a mini scavenger hunt.
3. Sing Along the Way
For music-loving families, encourage everyone to play karaoke in the car. Singing is a great bonding experience that releases endorphins and serves as a great way to start your children’s day in a positive frame of mind. You can also play DJ, giving each member a turn to spin some tunes.
4. Prepare for Rain or Shine
Weather can be unpredictable so pack everything that you need. This will be especially important when you need a break from the car. Have snacks and a picnic blanket tucked into the trunk so you can have an impromptu seat in a field or parking spot for a break from the confinement of the car.
6. Be Open to One Another
Finally, in creating moments that will become lasting memories, maintain an open mind for conversation and activities, and be willing to make the most of the experience even when it’s simply enjoying the passing scenery.
Originally published in June 2017.