Are we there yet? Use the time in the car to enhance your child's natural curiosity and find ways to interact and connect with your child. Here are a few suggestions:
Rather than finding toys to amuse and distract your child, use driving time to connect and enjoy being together.
What interests your child on car trips? Is it looking for signs that you are almost home or is it talking while you are together? Is it repeating new or silly words or sounds?Is it saying nursery rhymes, singing or watching for when the traffic lights change?
For your baby - Use car travel as a time to sing. Play a tape or CD or sing songs you know or love. You can also make up songs about what you are seeing along the road or sing with the radio. Singing about everyday activities helps children enjoy the sounds of language, and helps babies begin to associate words with good experiences. Singing also creates a sense of togetherness.
For your toddler - If your toddler likes trucks, look for trucks as you drive along and see who can yell out "truck" first. Or listen to what your toddler says and repeat their words, adding new words or rhyming with words he or she says. These games help children learn to watch carefully and to categorize.
For your preschooler - Use car time to talk about your child's day. Ask specific questions ("Did you draw in preschool?" or "Did you eat a cheese sandwich?") rather than general ones ("How was your day?") because they are easier for young children to answer. Help your child talk about past experiences to enhance memory.
Talk with your child about where you are going in the future ("We are going to the market on the way home") to help him or her develop thinking and planning skills.
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