Kids are always going through “a stage”. At least in my part of the world they do. I hear parents say it all the time, “Oh, it’s just a stage” as their child is doing something that embarrasses or frustrates them. And having three of my own little people I know that it is certainly true that they often going through different stages, some being more appealing stages than others. The “I love broccoli and I’m eating it all!” stage is awesome while the “I’m running away from you because I don’t want to leave yet” stage is exhausting and makes a mom want to pull her hair out.
Last fall all three of my kids were going through “a stage”. As a collective group they were conspiring to make their momma crazy. Ok, not really, but even if that wasn’t their goal, that’s the road we were on. Literally, we were on the road.
Here is the scenario and a little background info. You see, up until that point, the car was my happy place. My decompression chamber on wheels. If things were getting chaotic or loud in the house and I needed a break from that, I knew it was time to run an errand or maybe, it was time to head off to one of their activities. The minute we got in the car and turned on the radio things would calm down and everyone would pretty much just sit quietly, listen to music and chill out. It was the peace and calm I needed to get my head back together and continue on with the rest of the day. Sounds great, right?
Well, sometime last fall that began to change. My 2001 Honda Odyssey was no longer the safe haven that I always counted on it to be. Things got wild in our old minivan. The kids were no longer calming down in the car and there was either happy, loud happenings in the back or even worse, fighting. I tried different types of music, made it louder, made it softer, sang and tried to get them to sing too and none of it was making much of a difference. I began to feel a little bit coocoo because I no longer had my time of peace. Of course if things got too out of hand there were consequences but I wanted to figure out a positive way to get back to the van being a peaceful place. And that’s when I decided to try something different.
The next time we made a trip to the library, I checked out a couple of different audio CD packs and kept them right in the van. First up, Junie B. Jones. Ok, so, confession time. I had never read any of the Junie B. series books before so I didn’t know what I was in for. Ha! I found them to be so funny and was often laughing out loud! Some people might not consider it great literature but I thought the books were hilarious and so did Kellan (age 8). We got the humor. Jenna and Alaina (age 5) didn’t get the humor as much and looked a little horrified at times by how naughty Junie B. was but they liked the stories and it opened up some great conversations for us.
And guess what?!
I had a quiet van again without using any threats, consequences, reward charts or bribes. The audio books totally worked. I continued with various books for about 75% of the time we were in the van together for several months. And it broke the cycle of craziness in the van so that it’s a fairly peaceful place again, even without audio books. Certainly there are days and moments when things get loud in the back but it’s better. And we still bring audio books in the van from time to time as well. I love that the kids are listening to books during those bits of time when were are traveling somewhere.
Audio books have totally changed my life! Everyone says that to get you to do something or buy something, right? So, really, I’m just being sarcastic. Audio books haven’t changed my life *but* they really did make a big improvement for us as far as noise level in the van and in turn saved my sanity. Because as soon as I put those books on, the kids were more interested in listening and so they quieted down in order to hear!
So if you are looking for a way to quiet your kids down in the car, I’d highly recommend trying audio books. You’ll need to determine what type of books will best engage your own children depending on their ages and interest, but here are some recommendations for you to try based on what we’ve listened to or are planning to listen to:
If your local library doesn’t offer audio CDs and you prefer not to purchase audio CDs, you can consider either purchasing digital audiobooks or getting an Audible membership which includes one digital audiobook per month. There is a 30-day free trial to Audible available if you want to try it before you buy it.
Unfortunately there are no guarantees that audio books will work to get your kids quieted down but it’s worth a shot if you haven’t tried it yet. If you decide to give it whirl please me know how it turns out!