Posted on May 24th, 2011 by GEM Motoring Assist

Don’t write off long car journeys with children as stressful, instead learn how they can offer you the chance to strengthen your relationships and help your children grow into confident communicators.

Long car journeys with children have a bad reputation; they are usually recognised as something to be endured in order to get to a reward at the end – whether it be a holiday, visit to grandparents, or a wonderful family day out.

FinkBut time in the car can actually offer your family something very valuable, it can bring you together and help your child develop valuable skills. Let me tell you a bit more about the problems facing families today and you will see how very easily long car journeys could become a great opportunity for all involved.

A recent report showed that in some areas up to 50% of children starting school had speech and language difficulties. Experts believe one of the main reasons is due to the decline of family conversation, children are listening and watching more than speaking. The report stated that good communication was vital to children’s development, as it not only helped them academically but gave them an advantage in every other area of their life.

Talking more to our children is a very simple solution but what we have to bear in mind is that family conversation can get stuck in a rut; we can find ourselves just issuing instructions, or asking the same question over and over again. There are only so many times you can ask “How was school today?” before enthusiastic conversation turns to grunts and then eventually everyone stops talking.

So the solution is – drum roll please – to ask a different question! Yes that’s it – it really is that simple and long car journeys present a superb opportunity to try this out; here are some of my favourites

Would you rather be an adult or a child?
If you could choose a super power what would it be?
What is your earliest memory?

You are guaranteed to learn something new about each other, generate laughter and discussion whilst ultimately deepening and strengthening your relationships and giving your child a valuable opportunity to develop vital communication skills – not bad for a car journey!

Tell us about your favourite car journey games, you used to play as a child or the games that you play with your children now on the GEM Motoring Assist Facebook page.

Lisa Warner is the mother of four children, and a family communications expert. She is also the founder of Fink Cards, a company that gets people talking by creating conversation cards.