movie watchin’ in a minivan

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minivan minivan minivan minivan minivan minivan The Town & Country they let us borrow for the “Test of Ownership” program had not only one DVD player, but two! One for the middle row and one for the back row. Our current car doesn’t have a DVD player, so I knew the girls were going to get a kick out of trying this out. Personally, I’m kind of old fashioned and prefer cars without that capability. I like the idea of kids talking together, playing games, and looking out the window rather than at a screen, but since this was a borrowed car, we thought it would be okay to let them indulge a bit.

You can imagine their excitement when we popped in that first movie. They had lots of giggles and smiles. They were in complete disbelief that they could watch something in the car. I’m sure if I were a kid, I would have reacted the same way and would have ended up bugging my parents to get a car with that video capability. For the first movie we forgot to give them the headphones, so throughout our hour drive, Ben and I listened to The Little Rascals. We got smarter the second time around, gave the girls the headphones, and then we were able to listen to what we wanted through the car stereo system.

Not surprisingly, the movie-supplemented rides enabled a quietness never experienced before in a car with 4 girls. We’re used to lots of laughing and fighting (oh lots of fighting!), and us (loudly) telling them to calm down and stop bugging each other, but these drives were so different. That whole movie watching thing really brought a lot of silence. I will admit it was a nice break and Ben and I were able to have conversations in peace. Personally though, I’m still old fashioned and would much prefer a car without movie capability. It is nice, but I think the interaction that goes on between the girls during a car ride, even with all the bickering, is priceless. I guess if we ever wanted to allow them to watch once in awhile or needed absolute silence for something, we do have a mini portable DVD player, so maybe we could let them try that in the car once. I am not completely adverse to it, but for us, it just isn’t something we feel is necessary in our car.

What are your thoughts on DVD players in vehicles?

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19 Responses to “movie watchin’ in a minivan”

  1. jodi says:

    I remember taking lots of trips with my family growing up and those memories of talking with my brothers, playing car games etc… are my favorite. Now that I’m a parent, in theory I’d like my boys to make those same memories, but our oldest son is Autistic. He can only handle car rides if there’s music or a movie playing, so for us, having a DVD player in the car is necessary. (we bought portable dvd players) But I’m hoping that as the years go by, we can slowly incorporate more car games and engaging activities that both our boys enjoy.

  2. We have one in ours, but only occasionally use it for drives of more than an hour. Even then, not all the time. It keeps it more like a special treat. Our kids do like to read in the van, or play eye spy, and they do love just watching out the windows too. We are blessed with 4 children who generally don’t make much fuss in the vehicle, though, so that helps. I’m sure I would use it more often if there was more fighting!

  3. alison says:

    I’m old fashioned too. i much prefer my kids to talk and look out the windows instead of plugging them in constantly. I have used a portable dvd player for long road trips across states to keep all of our sanity, but that was a special occasion and not the norm. Looks like a fun feature though and if my kids knew it was there, I think they would be constantly begging me to watch a movie ;)

  4. Janet says:

    Oh I am not old-fashioned at all! Reading in the car makes the kids carsick, staring out the window while we inch our way through city gridlock gets tedious, so the kid’s seem to find the only alternative is fighting…all-the-time. Plus, I find driving really stressful, so to be able to drive without distractions from the back seat is very helpful. Funnily enough we don’t have cable at home and rarely watch tv in the house, so it’s sort of a reverse relationship – movies get watched in the car, books get read and games get played at home!

  5. Christina C says:

    I am on the same page with you, I can understand the silence being nice and not hearing fighting but I think it is something that is just part of the deal and I would rather my child(ren) be involved in converstaion, playing games or looking out the window instead of zoning out to a movie. Just my thoughts…

  6. Colleen says:

    I’m with you. Totally old fashion. We specifically bought a van without a DVD player (there was only one on the lot without one!). I tell ya, the salesman thought I was crazy, especially since I was visibly pregnant with our third when we were buying it. Sometimes, for long trips, I curse the decision, but am ultimately glad we went without. It is more inline with our lifestyle :)

  7. Tracie says:

    We didn’t use the DVD player until both of our kids were forward facing in their car seats, then the rule was one 30 minute show that mama chose. We ONLY use ours on trips an hour and a half or longer, never for a quick trip to the grocery store. That drives me INSANE to think how many children will grow up not knowing how to sit in the car without being entertained. My children are now 6 and 8 and we still only use it for long trips and they can watch one thing, but they have to agree on it. Often they read or play travel hangman.

  8. bianca says:

    Not a fan. Like you, I’d hate for my kids(we have 5) to miss out on the interaction(lovely or not) with one another.
    There are plenty of other thought provoking things to do on a road trip.

  9. Tammia says:

    I’m completely old-fashioned on this topic, too. Not only dvd players, but screen time in general. I want my kids to play and let their imaginations run wild. We do have portable dvd players for the car…but only for long road trips. Then it’s a break for the kids (and the parents)!

  10. We have a transportable dvd for the car and use it only for long travel. It really saves our life. Our families lives far away, so to travel 4 hours in car 2 times in one weekend a couple of time in a years with 2 young kids, we really appreciate our dvd player. I agree with you and would prefer chatting and playing together, but they are really too young for 4 hours of that in a car. As soon as they are going to read all, no more dvd, and lots of books or games !

  11. Erika says:

    My vote is “everything is fine in moderation”. Even videos in the car. We had family friends growing up who didn’t have tv at home and every time they were in a situation where there was a tv on (friends house, birthday party, school) they were glued to that tv something crazy. I was just a kid and I can totally picture them sitting as close to the tv as possible and you couldn’t pry them away. I was in awe of their awe. Obsessive rules/control can create obsessive children. Enjoy a movie now and again! Enjoy a book! Enjoy harassing your siblings! All these things can be part of our lives.

  12. erin says:

    kids get so much screen time already, i just can’t understand why they need even more screen time in the car, you know? we are another no-tv family and that includes the car. to me, that’s a good time to chat with kids, listen to music, talk about what we see out the windows, etc.

    on another note, it’s refreshing to see a blogger sharing their real opinion on a sponsored post. just another reason i love your blog!

  13. Amanda Nowak says:

    The kids I nanny for have a tv in their van, and AS SOON as we get in they’re arguing about what movie they want to watch etc. Personally, I think it’s so fun (loved riding in my uncle’s suburban as a kid when he had a dvd player), but just another screen to feed you mindless information away from real life interaction.

  14. Bethany says:

    Happy Thanksgiving Bratcher Family!!! We spent many a holiday trip out to see my parents in Ohio with DVD’s in the minivan player. We don’t have one anymore and sometimes I miss it.

  15. Rebecca says:

    I’m so with you!!! We took so many road trips as a kid and we NEVER had electronics. We played license plate game, naming the states, read books and sang. (and fought, lets be honest.) I believe in moderation too, but I know my kids will beg for a movie (or fight about it) all the time if I let them watch something once so we go without. Instead we have “sweetpeas” for each of them (kid friendly mp3 players). They can listen to their own music or a story and it is amazing how well those work. They focus on the story or song and still have to use their imagination to picture what is going on.

  16. ira lee says:

    i have a dvd player in my suv. i LOVE it for loooong trips- the natives get restless. otherwise i don’t really care for it. because as soon as we get it, my son is begging to watch a movie. -sigh- hard to teach patience with that!!!! lol

  17. I never watched movies in a car before, but I am sure for those REALLY long drives they are so helpful. We went to Maine which is 8 hours from where we live in NJ, and the boys were extremely well behaved without any form of entertainment really, and I am sure if they had something to watch, it would be easier on them, but thankfully we didn’t have a single issue and they were content and quiet and just liked looking out the window, asking questions, or sleeping. Glad you were able to have a moment of peace in your car ride!

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