Connecting by disconnecting: A (mostly) electronic-free road trip with the kids

Imagine a six-hour road trip with one mom, two kids and zero movies to watch along the way.

That’s right. Recently, the kids and I took a (mostly) electronic-free road trip, and we liked it.

We liked it so much that we’ll probably connect over something other than gadgets during our next lengthy car ride.

We brought a roll of tape, a pair of scissors, a pack of crayons and a stack of printer paper.

All prior road trips included our dual headrest DVD player. We don’t have it anymore and instead of buying a new one, I figured we could rough it like I did during my childhood. I don’t normally let them use electronics in the car, but road trips are the exception.

I’ll admit that I was scared. I brought my uncharged phone, which sat in the front seat, charging, the whole time, and I also stuffed the uncharged Kindle Fire under the driver’s seat just in case craziness broke out halfway there, so they could play an app or two for a little while.

My six-year-old is obsessed with Scotch tape. I buy the purple package, which is intended for gift wrapping, so that whatever he creates can be undone in those wee hours of the night when I sneakily unravel the day’s creations (or creations from a few weeks ago) with little to no sticky stuff left behind. It costs slightly more, but it’s saved quite a few LEGO bricks!

He also cut paper, and colored a wood craft box using crayon and then – you guessed it – tape to laminate his design. He was quite proud when we arrived at grandma’s house.

They didn’t ask, but I offered the Kindle about halfway through the trip. They each had two 10-minute sessions with the Kindle before it shut itself down. Each spent 20 minutes out of six hours with the device. The rest of the time was spent creating with art supplies, making conversation and taking a 30-minute nap.

My favorite part of the trip was that we talked more than usual. We didn’t talk about the volume of the DVD player, or argue about who chose the current movie. We talked about the upcoming school year, about friends and about the sights along the way.

We connected by disconnecting during our electronic-free road trip.

1 thought on “Connecting by disconnecting: A (mostly) electronic-free road trip with the kids”

  1. ALL parents with gadget geeks for kids, like my 7 year old, should permanently hang this mantra on their wall, “Connect by Disonnect”. Thank you for the refreshing inspiration!

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