Tech Dad: Prep for Road Trips
Avoid meltdowns in the car by following these tips, before you hit the road.
Any parent knows that if you don’t properly prepare for a family road trip, you’re doomed. Sure, that means stocking up on wet wipes, tissues, snacks, and drinks. It also means prepping your tech. These easy steps could save your sanity during those long hours in the car.
Preload That Media
Netflix and YouTube can be a great way for kids to pass the time—when properly monitored by mom and dad—but what happens when you pull out of the driveway? Bye bye, Wi-Fi! You gotta plan for this. Download content from Netflix and YouTube before you leave, for offline viewing. It will play the same way without Wi-Fi. Look for the down arrow icon to preload videos on both services.
My kids won’t sleep holding a tablet and our family vehicle doesn’t have TVs in the headrest, so we bought mounts from Amazon—a little clunky, but they worked great. The mounts held the tablets on the back of the headrests, so our kids could watch their shows and movies and (hopefully) fall asleep. Most are $15 or less.
App It Up
Just like video, you need to load apps before you leave the house. More importantly, mom and dad need to choose the apps. Do you really want your kid playing Candy Crush for hours on end? Choose apps that have some learning value and load them before you lose the Wi-Fi connection.
Don’t make the same mistake I made: Pack the headphones in the car ahead of time. Whether they’re Bluetooth or standard headphones, they will save your sanity. If you only have one tablet for two kids, find a cheap headphone splitter (at just about any store). Plug the splitter into your tablet, then plug in two sets of headphones. Two kids can easily share one movie.
Go Old School
As much as I love technology, I also know how important it is to unplug sometimes. Put together a binder of activity sheets—do a quick search on Pinterest. Classic road sign games go a long way for kids in the car, too. Not to mention, it gives them that much-needed break from technology.