How to read to your kids when on a work trip

I’ve heard some studies say that one of the most important activities you can do with your children is to read to them.

Well, I’ve been traveling quite a bit for work lately,and as of this writing I’m averaging about 2 weeks of work travel a month now.  That’s about 8 evenings a month I don’t get to read to my kids (at least mom picks up the slack when I’m not home).

Through the use of available recording technology, here is a little something a traveling parent can do so your child can hear you reading to them whenever you are on travel (or when they want to hear your voice).  The cost is minimal and there are numerous positive benefits.  I did this for my boys so they could hear me reading to them whenever they wish.

  • Purchase a headset to connect to your laptop or computer (analog or USB is good, see my AV gear page)
  • Install & Use some audio recording software to record your voice (I use Audacity)
  • Read your children’s favorite books and record the audio (a WAV file would be nice to input to the Levelator)
  • Make a MP3 from the recorded and leveled audio.
  • Purchase a set of computer speakers (about $12) and a low end MP3 player (about $28), both pictured above
  • Put your recorded MP3 “audiobooks” on the MP3 player
  • Put the speakers and MP3 player and speakers in your child’s room where they read
  • Show your child how to select the audio for a book they want to read
  • Press play and let them read along with the audio (or just listen)

I know this in no way substitutes for real in -person reading with your child (so much more is communicated to your child through non-verbal language and touch), but it’s a great alternative for the traveling parent to invest some up-front time recording to allow your child to hear your voice later.  My little $40 investment in each of my boys will have future benefits that can’t be measured.

Here’s a small audio sample of a book I recorded so my kids can play and read along when I’m away from home.

Download the mp3 here.

Enjoy!

– Dom

Eagle Creek Tarmac ES 22

I’ve owned the Eagle Creek Tarmac ES 22 luggage for over a couple years now. It’s a great bag, fits well in all overhead storage on planes, and it’s light.

I wanted to make people aware of one issue I had with the bag, which I fixed. The allen screws on the handle tend to come loose with use over time. Since I did not want the handle coming off while traveling I kept screwing in the screws with whatever tool I had, a key, a stick, you get the idea.

I solved the loose screw problem at home one day by putting some Loc-tite on the screws so they don’t move. You can get Loc-tite at a local hardware store. One dab of this product on the threads does the trick, then securely tighten down the screw using a allen wrench.

Hope this is helpful to those folks who have the same bag.

– Dom

P.S. This post was created using the iPhone WordPress app while on a train to the airport, pretty slick.

*****

Update, 11/12, 2010, I have a new post on Uneven Wheel Wear on the Tarmac 22.