Driving can be stressful. You may not know where you’re going as you’re driving through an unfamiliar city, driving to and from work every day can be a real drag, and there’s nothing worse than getting stuck in stop-and-go traffic. Although all of these situations are very stressful, there’s nothing more stressful than dealing with these situations when you have kids in the backseat.
You don’t have to dread loading up the kids in the car every time you have somewhere to go! There are ways you can make sure everyone in the car enjoys the drive more when you follow these seven tips.
Put Driver Safety First
It is extremely important for you to put safety first. After all, there’s nothing more stressful than getting into a car accident, especially if you have your kids in the car.
Putting driver safety first means paying attention to the road and engaging in techniques that reduce your chances of getting in an accident. A few tips include things like:
- Leaving enough space in front of you to safely stop
- Always driving the speed limit
- Always using your turn signals
- Never using your cell phone while driving
- Keeping your windshield clean
- Never driving in another driver’s blind spot
Create a List of Rules for the Car
If you have kids, you understand the importance of house rules. It enables you to clarify expectations so the kids know how to behave. Not to mention, when you have rules, and the kids know what they are, there are a lot less arguments.
Strangely, most families don’t have the same kinds of rules for the road! You can prevent a lot of trouble in the backseat if you have a clear list of rules for the car.
That includes things like always wearing a seatbelt and riding quietly so the driver can focus on the road. You may also want to include things like no eating in the backseat, or only water is allowed. That way, you don’t have to worry about sticky messes and fights over food.
Make Sure the Kids Have Something to Do Before You Pull Out of the Driveway
Keeping the kids busy in the backseat is important. If they are distracted, they are less likely to bug you about whether you’re there yet or fight with each other while you’re driving. However, that doesn’t mean you should try and entertain them while your car is in drive. Instead, get travel activities ready to go before you pull out of the driveway.
That might mean queuing up a movie so it’s ready to start as soon as you hit the road, making sure the kids have something to drink or making sure every kid can reach their favorite toy or books to read. That way, you aren’t reaching around into the backseat to try and get your kids set up with something to do when you should be focusing on the road.
You aren’t alone if you and the kids are late a lot. Between coats, shoes, snacks, and quick trips to the bathroom, it’s easy to fall behind, and if you fall behind, you’re more likely to be stressed. Your car ride isn’t going to be pleasant, and you’re more likely to speed, which can put your entire family in danger.
Always plan to leave early. Even if it means getting everyone ready and loaded up in the car a half an hour before you’re supposed to be there, you’ll feel much better during the drive knowing you’ll be early than knowing you’re going to be late.
Pull Over to Deal With Issues
Even if the kids know what is expected of them in the car, that doesn’t mean they will follow the rules all of the time. Fights are going to happen, and when they do, you should pull over to deal with the issue. Yelling at them from the front seat will only stress you out. Not to mention, it will take your attention off the road.
It’s not always the kids! Arguments can break out between spouses while you’re driving that should be dealt with smartly so tempers don’t flare and the kids in the backseat don’t become worried.
Do Things to Make the Drive Fun
If you spend a lot of time in the car, it can be difficult to have fun. Even watching movies and playing games can get old! Instead, look for fun things you can do that involve the entire family.
Road trip games are always a great choice but don’t shy away from turning on the radio. Take turns with the kids playing your favorite music. You may discover a trendy singer that you actually enjoy, and it turns out, your kids will look back fondly on the old music you play someday, even if they claim they don’t like it in the moment.
Get a Car You Want to Drive
Although it’s not always feasible, you may want to consider getting a new car. If you’re driving a vehicle that’s a little tight for your family, or if you’re always worried about whether you’re going to break down on the side of the road, you aren’t going to enjoy the time you spend behind the wheel.
If you do want to get a new vehicle, make sure you think very carefully about whether you can afford the car you’re most interested in. Driving a newer, nicer vehicle may make driving on the road more pleasant, but it can add financial stress, which may not be worth it. Instead, you can consider updates to your existing vehicle, like adding a backup camera or behind-the-seat organizers, if your budget is tight.
Driving can get monotonous, and it can be stressful when you have kids in the backseat. Although you may never be excited to drive across town, you can enjoy the time you spend in the car just a little more when you follow the tips on this list.