Raising Davis: Are road trips part of your family’s life?



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Davis doesn’t like to go on even
a 20-minute drive without his
handheld gaming device (PSP) or
my iPad. If we insist that he enjoy
the drive and look out the window,
we get a detailed description of
everything he sees; “Hey check
out that building! Did you see that
dog? Doesn’t that cloud look like a
warlock eating pizza?” So, we have
to decide if screen time is more
damaging than our ears bleeding
from constant chatter.

Our last attempt at a long road
trip was three years ago. Davis
was four, Madison and Mackenzy
were 13, and we took an eight-hour
drive to Mt. Tremblant in Quebec.
Davis still enjoyed naps; the girls,
newly teenagers, welcomed sleep
anytime. It was actually pretty
good. There were no personal
electronic devices yet. The only
thing we had was a portable
DVD player.

Three years later, we can’t keep
our 16-year-old twins off their
smart phones and Davis, on my
iPad, is a junkie for Minecraft,
Angry Birds and defeating zombies
with plants. We limit him to one
hour to play his personal video
games, so after his hour is up,
what would we do with the other
seven hours should we venture
out again? We have avoided the
situation altogether.

Last year, we went to Lake
Placid, N.Y., and stayed overnight
in Kingston, Ont., so the drive
was no longer than three hours at
any time. That wasn’t bad except
for the incessant whining of the
person with the smallest bladder
– me! I will panic if there isn’t a
rest stop every 90 minutes. It sure
doesn’t help that I exacerbate the
situation by picking up a coffee
every time I stop. So, it isn’t just the
kids who are hard to deal with on a
long trip – I’m no fun, either.

This year we have added a new
member to our family – a puppy.
He joins me in the small bladder
category, so I won’t be the only
reason we’re making frequent
stops. Our vehicle is also not big
enough to accommodate all of us
plus the dog, so we will either take
two cars or rent a minivan. So,
unfortunately, no more long road
trips until we have a big enough
vehicle. (At least that’s my excuse
for now. More excuses may follow
if we decide to get a minivan).

Expert Advice ~ Family therapist, Sara Dimerman says:

Rather than looking down the road towards a final destination, think of
your trip as a circle of experiences with no one destination but a round
trip punctuated by wonderful stops along a special journey. Having
said this, that there may be lengthy periods of time to fi ll between those
stops – times that you’d prefer the kids fill with something other than
electronic, mind-melting gadgets. Finding balance is key. It’s okay to get
some quiet time when everyone is plugged into their virtual worlds, but
it’s also important to take time away from this to play some old-fashioned
games or chat about the changing landscapes. Consider how seldom
you have your family all together in one spot and realize this as a unique
opportunity to really enjoy one another’s company along the way.

Meghan Bradley is a full-time sales rep and mother of Davis, 7, and step-mother to twins Madison and Mackenzy, 16.

To read more of Meghan’s Mommy Diaries, visit raisingdavis.com or follow her on Twitter @raisingdavis.

Originally published in ParentsCanada magazine, July 2013.

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