Monday, April 24, 2017
With tablets these days, pacifying our children with videos and games can be quite tempting, yet there is another route we can take to help our kids survive our drive times.
The other week, I converted several "Daniel Tiger" episodes from You Tube to mp3. "Daniel Tiger" episodes are easy to follow along with in audio format, without the need for video. Our two year old daughter hates drive time, but she is doing much better because she totally tunes into these stories about conflict, naming emotions, and problem solving.
There are plenty of websites that convert from youtube.com to mp3 audio files. Google can help you to find them. Then simply convert videos to mp3 that you think your kid might be interested in. Listen to them in your car with a phone, mp3 player, or burn the audios to CD if you have a CD player. Convert your shows to mp3 and then have them listen to them on the car speakers.
Try different kinds of videos and see which ones your kid tunes into the most. TV shows and videos that are positive, emotionally connecting, and problem solving are the best because they help a kid's brain activate parts of the brain that lead to emotional development. Our brains are hardwired for stories that have a beginning, middle, and ending that lead to emotional connection, problem solving, and teamwork.
Right now, our 24-month-old daughter is watching Dora the Explorer, Little Einsteins, and Daniel Tiger. While Dora and Little Einsteins are great shows, I recommend Daniel Tiger the most because this show helps with emotional development and problem solving.
I am uncertain about three years old and above, but I am certain that there are You Tube videos out there that deal with emotions and problem solving for higher ages. One example off the top of my head for middle school kids would be the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. The emotional development piece isn't as direct, but the teamwork and problem solving pieces are there. I am certain there are good, positive, emotion coaching, and problem solving stories out there for all ages and development.
Watching Daniel Tiger on a screen in a car for hours can harm a child's eyes and doesn't engage a child's brain in the same way that an audio version does. Listening to audio increases the child's ability to imagine, remember a video they have already watched, and increases concentration if they are listening. It is a great way to help calm a child during drive time in a way that is emotionally and cognitively beneficial.
On a final note, if your child likes to read in the car, then that is great! Not going to argue about that, except to say that if you listen to these stories with your child, then you can discuss them with your child too, which increases emotional connection between you and them. Thus, I believe a combination of reading, listening, and watching stories is a nice balance.
(photo taken with permission from flickr creative commons by TILImAX10 at https://www.flickr.com/photos/116675141@N02/)