If you can, think back to when you were a little kid riding in the backseat of your family car and your mom or dad yelled, “Don’t make me pull this car over!” At the time, you probably thought it was a bit funny. In truth, your driving daddy or mommy was probably doing the best he could to get you and your siblings from one place to another safely. When kids -or anyone- distract a driver, the results can be disastrous.
Hold a fun family meeting
Convene a convivial family meeting to make up five road rules that everyone agrees to. Make it fun for your littlest kids to recite the rules for riders every time you go anywhere, says The Toy Blog. Good rules to regard are 1. No fighting. 2. No screaming. 3. No complaining. 4. Wear safety belts always. 5. No cell phones for anyone whilst driving. When kids understand that these common-sense rules apply to everyone and protect everybody in the vehicle, they are more likely to happily comply.
One of the major reasons kids may cause trouble while a parent is paying attention to traffic is boredom. Little kids who have something fun to do, they’re less likely to become restless and irritable. Reserve a favorite toy to amuse your toddler while taking a road trip. A special stuffed animal is a great idea. A bag of glass marbles, not so much. Keep as many cookie sheets in your car as the number of school-age kids coming along for a ride. A lightweight aluminum baking sheet makes an ideal play surface. Older kids can use a sheet to hold their coloring book, and cookie sheets with sides will corral their crayons.
Be a role model
Raising Children magazine reminds parents to set a fine example by wearing their seatbelt every time they drive. Don’t start your Jeep Compass or any other vehicle until each passenger is secured in an appropriate restraint, whether an infant seat, a toddler seat or regular car seat with safety belt. Make a game of seeing who can get buckled up the fastest. If your kids are of varying ages, let the oldest tend to the younger kids when traveling. Promise a prize of some sort to all kids who behave for the duration of the road trip.
Keep ‘em occupied
Active cell phones in a moving car are not the greatest idea, but an iPad or Android tablet with an assortment of games and art programs can be a lifesaver when it comes to traveling with teenagers. Audiobooks are a good option, too, and can entertain everyone in the car. Keep a selection of non-perishable, healthful snacks at hand and dole them out as needed. Hungry kids are cranky kids and nobody wants that in their back seat.
Traveling with kids in tow can be a challenge, but it can also be a whole lot of fun.
Contributed: Kyle Stephens plays an active role in his 2 kid’s lives and enjoys writing parenting articles for a selection of blogs.