By Danelle Day
Pre-kids I believed I would never allow my children to watch screens until they were at least 5 years old or more... and then for a very limited amount of time. My own mother limited our screens to no more than 30 minutes/day as children, and while I hated it at the time, I grew to appreciate that this forced us into other activities. So my intentions were good. They were rooted in what I wanted for my kids -- the best!
Then life happened.
And mothering happened.
And my husband was deployed for many months at a time, and to see him (or any family) I often had to travel cross-country with children and a baby by myself. To do so (long car rides or on flights) I had to keep the kids HAPPY. And to do so, screens -- Baby Einstein, Baby Signing Time, Wonder Pets, Thomas the Train, Paw Patrol, Blues Clues, and everything in between -- came into our lives. I learned that having a happy, calm toddler is more important than rigidly attending to my no-screens desire. The 'lesser evil' is Baby Einstein if the alternative is a crying, stressed, unhappy, cortisol-spiked traveling tyke (and mom)! I wish that someone had put this little compilation together for me years ago (though technology is far different now from when I had to balance a portable DVD player and hope I could keep discs from scratching while traveling...)
For those who need an affordable option for videos on long trips, this combo is perfect for little kids. It is a combo not easily broken, lasts forever, and you can stock the micro SD card with kid-friendly, brain-stirring shows (for babies under 30 months I do most recommend the various Baby Einstein and Baby Signing Time videos):
Amazon Fire: https://amzn.to/2TPABdk $49
Foam Kids Case: https://amzn.to/2PXEEGu $19 -- our kids have dropped, thrown, spilled on, etc. this and it keeps things secure -- they are better than the Amazon Fire kids' edition because they have a holder that doubles as a stand, and the foam casing is thicker.
Screen protector: https://amzn.to/2r3sFrW (3 for $6) -- these are so great that it has even held together a broken Amazon Fire screen for over a year for us without allowing it to crack or break further! It was broken before we found the foam cases above...
Micro SD card of any type/size (depending on how much you want to hold): https://amzn.to/2ztmMJg (price varied)