Guardian Childcare & Education

Commuting with Children: A Survival Guide for Parents

18th April 2017

There are many benefits to choosing a childcare centre that’s close to your work in the CBD. From being able to pop in to visit or breastfeed, less rushing out of the office to make pick ups, and the opportunity to spend time with your child on the commute home, there are many great reasons to choose a childcare centre in the CBD.

However, the daily commute to your early learning centre in the city can seem a bit harrowing when trying to entertain the little ones on the train or bus. Fast forward eight or ten energy-filled hours and the trip home can be straight up purgatory. So how can you carry out a commute with tired, bored, and overstimulated children and live to do it all again tomorrow?

Check out our survival tips below.

Let them eat… anything

Hungry kids (and adults) do not make pleasant travelling partners. Take snacks –nuts, fruit, a slightly squashed sandwich – anything that will keep your young ones happy after a long day. Sure, there’s always a danger of spoiling their appetite, but aren’t tantrums and general feral-ness a greater threat to a successful dinner meal?

Treat travelling time as family time

Think of your commute as a solid block of uninterrupted family time. On a bus or train there’s no technology, no running off into bedrooms, no Lego or phones or anything, really. Okay, maybe phones but you can keep those hidden away.

This is your chance to ask about each other’s day and listen to the answer without interruption. It’s a time to play I Spy games, read books without one of you falling asleep, or simply chat about the world outside your windows.

Play games

Travel games can pass the time, keep children entertained and also offer some great learning opportunities, so it’s all positive, really.

Here are a few of our favourite travel games:

  • “I spy with my little eye” fosters attention to detail and also helps with letters and sounds
  • The number plate game involves nominating a letter then finding a number plate that includes that character. Another good one for letter recognition.
  • The alphabet game (A for apple and air conditioning, B for banana and so on)
  • Collaborative storytelling is a creative way for the entire car to contribute to and build upon a story. You might start with a line to kick things off then everyone takes turns to add their version of what happens next.
  • Train/bus bingo. This is essentially a scavenger hunt whereby you come up with a list of things your children might see on the commute and each item is ticked off when it is spotted.

Put together a commute bag

This might include books, small toys, activity or colouring pads and even some problem solving tasks for children. The key to a successful commute bag is to reserve its contents for travel only, giving each toy or activity exclusive status.

Childcare centres in Sydney’s CBD

Guardian Early Learning Group own a number of conveniently located early learning centres in Sydney’s CBD. So whether you work down in Martin Place, around the new Barangaroo or up towards Haymarket, there is a childcare centre that’s close to your work. To find a CBD location that’s perfect for you, head here.

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