Let’s face it, even when you are driving alone in the car, it can be hard to focus – so is it any wonder that adding kids to the mix can make driving more challenging? Whether you’re breaking up a fight in the backseat or listening to loud conversations between siblings, you can easily have your attention pulled from the tasks at hand.
You’re talking to your toddler and miss your exit on the highway. You’re responding to someone’s cries, and take your eyes off the road. The problem is, when you’re a distracted driver, even if just temporarily, you’re an unsafe driver. Every moment you’re not watching the road can lead to serious accidents. That’s why it’s so important to take steps to stay focused on the road.
How can you stay focused on the road while there are little ones in the backseat? To help you better manage road trips, whether they’re daily shuttles or holiday travel, here are some top tips for driving with kids in the car:
Bring entertainment. Usually, entertained kids are quieter kids, so bring fun toys and activities for the road. You can set up a DVD in the back of the minivan or provide activity bags with coloring books and travel games — but, whatever you do, provide age-appropriate, engaging entertainment options that will appeal to your kids. When they know they’ve got something to play with, they’ll be less likely to make their own entertainment by fussing with one another.
Bring snacks. Eating is another activity to take up time and keep the kids happy, so you’ll want to pack good snacks for the road. Avoid high-sugar treats that will lead to inevitable sugar crashes while you’re traveling, though. Instead, opt for healthy, wholesome snacks that your kids will still enjoy.
Sing along. Pick sing-along favorites the whole family can enjoy. Plenty of pop musicians are making kids’ music today, so find something you can all get into, and turn up the tunes on the road.
Stop frequently. Especially on long road trips — like a Christmas trip to grandma’s house several states away, or a summer drive to the beach that takes all day — be sure to take frequent breaks. Let your kids run around, stretch their legs and burn off some pent-up energy so they’ll hopefully be a little more tired in the car.
Get reinforcements. Whenever it’s possible, bring another adult with you on your travels. Two adults means two of you to respond to kids, hand out snacks, moderate fights, etc. One person can be on driving duty, while the other takes kid duty. One person could even get in the back to play patty-cake or be a partner in tic-tac-toe, depending on your kids’ ages and needs. Having an extra set of hands on your side can make a huge difference in how the trip goes.
Stay strong. Whether it’s your 6-month-old or your toddler who’s sitting in the backseat, it’s highly possible there will come a time when your child gets frustrated with being stuck in his or her seat and won’t stop crying. If you know your baby isn’t wet, hungry or in danger in this situation, you may just need to wait it out. Do your best to stay strong and ignore the crying; eventually it will stop.
Whether you’re driving around town or driving across the country, when you’re driving with kids, you’ve got to plan ahead. Knowing what to bring and how to act in the car together can go a long ways toward keeping everybody calm and happy as you travel. Use the six tips above to prepare for your next set of errands or weekend getaway, and make your trip a little easier on everyone!
Reid Zaritsky is Senior Vice President of Capital Auto Auction, a family-run business since 1988. He has been with the company since 2009 and has a background in science and engineering. Capital Auto Auction focuses on finding the right vehicles for families of all sizes.
The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog contributor’s. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Writers may have conflicts of interest, and their