Why in-car communication with kids is important

In the daily hustle and bustle of life, we often overlook the smaller, incidental opportunities to connect with our children. Even cars built today are fitted with ports for the current digital devices which aids all occupants from having to talk to the person next to them. When you are going from A to B in the car make the most of the time to learn as much as you can about what you child is thinking, feeling and experiencing.

The benefits and ways of maximising the in-car communication include:

  1. Information download. The drive home from school is the best time of day to get as much information about the day from your child. Equally, the ride home after picking them up from camp is also the 5-30 minutes where you will learn the most about their time away from you. Turn the radio off and get ready to hear the stories unfold.
  2. Ask open ended questions. To get the most out of your child, ask questions that need a greater response than the usual mono-syllabic response (‘yes’ and ‘no’). Try asking “what was the best part of your day?” “what were you most proud of today?” “how can you improve upon today?” “what was the most interesting thing you learned today?”
  3. Don’t interrupt. In the car and chatting is an opportunity for you to listen. If your child starts to ramble, you can focus more on road signs
  4. A little distance, yet so close. Your child(ren) can communicate without feeling threatened, while at the same time, they feel safe in the confines of the car with someone they love and trust
  5. Great time to connect with your children. Some children prefer to express themselves through song. Ask your child to pick a song that best expresses how they are feeling at that moment
  6. Play games in the car. Today, we are so connected to digital devices that we have forgotten how to entertain ourselves in the car without them. If you are going on a longer trip, take the time to connect and play some car games like traditional eye-spy, spotto, round-robin songs or beat jam.

By taking the time and making the most of connecting with your child in the car, you will be:

  1. Strengthening the parent-child bond
  2. Improving your child’s confidence
  3. Improving your child’s self-worth
  4. Creating a space for vulnerability
  5. Learning about their thoughts, feeling, experiences, struggles and triumphs

It is easy to ‘sweep things under the rug’ and not address our feelings or challenges and concentrate on our own lives. Try to make your car a digital-free zone on shorter trips and use the digital devices as a reward after some engaging conversation on the longer trips. Don’t forget to share a little about your day too!


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