We’ve all been there. The kids are arguing/ touching/ antagonizing/looking at each other wrong in the back seat while you’re trying to drive. I got my first black eye at age six when my older brother hit me with the middle seat belt (back in the lap-belt only days). There’s no easy answer, but here are a few ways I try and reduce the backseat bickering.
My kids are six and nine and their favorites are Brains On and Smash Boom Best. Brains On is science-based and really engaging. There aren’t really annoying voices or sounds, and it’s nice that it covers a range of ages. “Why Do We Lose teeth?” and “The Science of Baking” are some of our favorites. These run 20-30 minutes which is usually perfect for running around town.
Smash Boom Best is created by the same producers as Brains On. It is debate-focused, but on silly topics (honey vs. pickles for example). This one makes for great conversations among all car riders! And these are also about 20-30 minutes.
Julie’s Library is great for younger kids as it has Julie Andrews reading. Her soothing voice is wonderful for the car! These are a bit shorter usually, but very engaging.
Stuff You Should Know is really great for your curious kiddos! It probably won’t engage the little ones as much, but each episode is an explanation of something you didn’t realize you needed to know. My favorites include: “How Olive Oil Is Made,” “Handwashing vs. Dishwashing,” and “What Happened to Pompeii?” This is meant for adults but most are perfectly appropriate for kids.
Libby, Hoopla, and Sora Apps
All of these apps connect with your public library card and can be used with your phone or tablet. If you don’t have at least one of these apps, you have no idea what you’re missing! With your library card, you have an absolute wealth of materials. There are movies, music, audio and digital books. There are limits to what’s available and for how long, but you certainly won’t be short of material. Headed out for a road trip this holiday season? Get an audiobook, digital book, and movie and keep the kids entertained for hours!
Give ‘Em a Job
This requires a little more creativity and engagement on my part, but I try to multi-task by asking them to do things I know need to get done anyway, like reading log homework. Have your kiddo read to everyone in the car. Or make them write a lot of lists: grocery lists, to-do lists, Christmas lists. Even if you don’t have paper, having them create and verbalize a mental to-do list might keep them from fighting over the tiny Lego they found in the seat. Distracting them with a focused conversation seems to help them focus on each other less!