“No Television” Creates Miniature Road Warriors

We’re back from a family vacation! We are feeling rested and grateful for some quality time together. Twenty-four hours in a car together makes for a lot of family time, and we pulled the drive twice.

Our No Television Experiment is thriving. While Little Girl still asks for TV occasionally, extols its virtues and is glued to every screen she happens to come across, we have not broken the no-TV vow – even in the car.

Finger puppets

My mom's brilliance helped the trip along; she would give Little Girl a "puppet show" with her fingers if potty stops were completed efficiently and without whining.

I was surprised how easy it was. I thought for sure she would lose it after four hours and I would break down, bust out the iPod episodes of Super Why!, and end my short blogging career in defeat. Little did I know that Little Girl was hiding vast reserves of self-entertainment abilities in her three-year-old frame. She sang. She listened to music. She read “Florida’s Fabulous Seashells” cover to cover at least 26 times, when I stopped counting. I must say that it helped that the McDonald’s toys on our trip were Build-a-Bear miniatures. I’m not a fast food proponent in general, but vacations are for breaking the rules a little bit and those bears (“Posie” and “Hosie”) had great adventures on the road.

Little Guy? He slept, played with his feet, chewed on his toes, played with recyclables and, for the very last hour, screamed with murderous rage.

toy nom

Little Guy is still in the stage where chewing on stuff is the paramount of exciting adventures, so he was easy to entertain.

In November we took a six-hour trip that did not go half so well. In fairness to science (ha) I have to say that there were several variables that were different. We were using an Evenflo carseat for Little Girl on the short trip, and a Britax on the long trip. The short trip was in a compact car, the long trip in a minivan. The short trip was with just our nuclear family, the long trip with my parents added. The most interesting variable to me, however, was that Little Girl had practically unlimited access to television in the car on the short trip, and no television whatsoever on the long trip. She had also been TV-free for over a month before the long trip.

She wasn’t just a trooper on this long trip, though. She was delightful. Happy the whole way. You never would have known that she was a three-year-old trapped in a car for 12 hours a day. In short, she dealt with the trip better than I did. Here are the facts; do you agree that it seems logical that the abstention from television had something to do with her miraculous good humor on such a long car trip? All things considered, it looks to me as though this was the most relevant of the possible behavior variables. I’d like to know your opinion!

We made it!

The destination was worth it. Little Guy is not face-planting in the sand, he is chewing on my leg.


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