So how do you keep your kid entertained in the car?
Here’s why I ask. Alexander, who is 2, started his new school this month in Boca Raton, near my Sun-Sentinel office. It’s also close to my wife’s office in Boca. But there’s a catch: We live in Fort Lauderdale. So I take him to school each day, and she picks him up before heading to get Rowan at his day care in Fort Lauderdale.
For two weeks we’ve had these drives up Interstate 95 to Boca, about 40 minutes. I decided early on that I was not going to listen to NPR in the car. This was for two reasons. First, a colleague and a friend both recently struck the fear of God in me about leaving your kid in the car. They both recounted hearing about cases of perfectly well-meaning people just forgetting about their kid in the back seat. They got so wrapped up in their routine that the kid faded into the background.
Then there was my desire to actually make these trips meaningful for the two of us. I knew that listening to the news would mean I was not listening to Alexander. He’s not really fascinated by coverage of the presidential race. So I figured shutting the radio off was a way to focus on him, talk to him.
But I discovered a problem: We run out of things to talk about. I mean, he’s only 2. And I get a bit bored pointing out trucks -- “tractor-trailer truck,” “tanker truck” – for the entire ride. The other morning I tired coming up with stories behind what the trucks were carrying. That worked well with a refrigerated meat truck. He started pointing to trucks afterward and saying, “Take meat to the store,” and “cook it.” But that only goes so far.
My colleague, Daniel Vasquez, made me wish l that I could find a way to take a train or bike on this long ride, even just for a week as he did. So what do you think? A kid’s book on CD? A game? Is NPR the way to go after all?