I often feel like I am not a "normal" mom, maybe my 12 year old reminds me of that as well. My kids don't have hand held video game systems. I rarely let them watch television or videos. In fact, we don't even have a tv on the main level of our house. I just often find that on most stations, there is nothing on that my kids need to see. We have had one movie night as a family in the last three years. Although, having 4 movie nights is on my 101 things list.
Having said all of that, when we bought our Expedition, it was very difficult to find a car that size that didn't already have a built in DVD system. Alas, we found a car without a video system, so we were pleased.
I said all of that to describe our nine hour car ride to Pennsylvania. Many moms suggest I break down and use a video system, but I believe it is important for kids to learn to entertain themselves without electronic devices. I was so proud of them on the trip up North. For the first three hours, HAS colored me a picture that was wonderful. This normally very rambunctious boy, sat and colored very quietly for three hours. The other two took turns reading books. We did break down and buy them refurbished Kindles, to break up the monotony, but they can only play with them for very short periods of time. On this nine and a half hour trip, they played on the kindles for 45 minutes. We stopped and ate. My heart warmed when I realized that their favorite part of the trip was having David out on his high beams so they could watch the snow storm we drove though. They oohed and aahed at the snow and they loved searching for it everywhere outside. Every time David turned off his high beams because another car was passing us the other direction, they couldn't wait for the high beams to come back on. Internally, I smiled, because these are the family memories that I want to instill in them on long road trips. Sure, there are moments when they make me crazy with the giggling and non stop talking, but it is important to me that they learn to appreciate the experience and memories.
This trip was encouraging because next summer (2014) we are driving out west to go to Yellowstone for a month. That will be over a 30 hour drive towing the camper and I know it will not be an easy drive, but yesterday, I was encouraged.