If you’re a mom, you might feel like a chauffeur sometimes. You might also feel like a cook, a referee, a therapist, and many other things. A mom must be versatile because bringing up healthy, happy kids is one of the most challenging and multifaceted jobs.
The more kids you have, and the more activities you need to drive them to, the more you might find yourself wearing the chauffeur hat. There are things like music lessons, chess club, soccer practice, etc. On top of all that, you often have to handle meals, homework checks, and more.
You have a lot on your plate, but some moms worry about one particular thing more than others. That’s their child or children’s car behavior. Ideally, you want your little angels to sit in the backseat and use their inside voices while you navigate rapidly-changing traffic conditions.
Maybe they’re not so good at that, though. If you have a hard time keeping your kids quiet and well-behaved during drive time, perhaps you need to look into some distraction options. Here are a few that we recommend.
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Before we get into the different child distraction possibilities, we need to mention that fatigued moms should never get behind the wheel. It’s easier for us to say it than for you to do it. Studies show that 7 out of 10 truck drivers operate their rigs while fatigued sometimes, but they don’t have screaming kids in the backseat.
If you feel tired, but you know you have to take the kids somewhere, drink some hot coffee or an energy drink, or splash some cold water on your face when you get a chance. You could also open the driver’s side window a crack to get some air blowing through the vehicle. Make sure you’re fully awake, so you don’t drift off behind the wheel.
You might keep the kids quiet occupy the kids while driving with books. You can give them:
- A Nook or Kindle
- An old-fashioned bound paper book
Your kids should enjoy reading, whether you give them an old-fashioned book or a reading device like a Kindle or Nook. You can get them started on books as early as possible, so they enjoy literature.
Books stimulate young minds. You can make sure they read the classics, like “Treasure Island,” “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Hobbit,” etc. Hopefully, that will keep them occupy the kids while driving till you get to your destination.
Maybe your kids won’t get into reading, even with your coaxing. It’s okay. Some kids will never get into books, no matter how hard you try.
You might choose to get your child a smartphone if you feel like they are old enough. If they have a smartphone during the drive, they can use it to:
- Play games
- Check out different websites
- Text with their classmates
They will probably discover social media sooner rather than later. They can post things and interact with their school friends. It’s another way to keep them occupy the kids while driving and quiet so you can keep your eyes on the road.
In-Car Entertainment Systems
You might decide you’re ready to get a new family vehicle at some point. If you have a child or children who make noise in the car a lot, you might think about getting a model that has a built-in entertainment system.
Several car companies make these now. They are usually small TV screens embedded in the back of the driver’s seat and behind the front passenger’s seat.
Your kids can put on SpongeBob, Thomas the Tank Engine, Dora the Explorer, etc. It’s another thing that can absorb their interest while you drive, and it keeps them from yelling at each other.
This is a useful option. Keep in mind, though, that only more expensive cars usually have these systems. It’s often difficult or impossible to retrofit an older car with them.
You Can Sing Songs
Maybe you would prefer that your kids not stare at a screen while they’re in the car. You can always sing songs with them instead.
You might teach them songs like “Wheels on the Bus” or “Three Blind Mice.” If they are a bit older, maybe they learned some songs in school that they will want to sing for you.
If all that fails, you could even encourage them to sing some favorite TV show theme songs. It’s all about distracting them till you get to your destination, so you might have to hear the same song a bunch of times in a row.
You Can Listen to a Podcast or Audiobook
Maybe your kids would be okay with you putting on a podcast or an audiobook. How old your kids are will determine which ones you might decide are appropriate.
If you have a five-year-old, you won’t want to put on a true-crime podcast. You’d do better with a Clifford the Big Red Dog audiobook. You can look into some options and stock up for longer car trips.
You Can Play a Game
One more thing you could do is to play some games. You might play I Spy or try The License Plate Game, where you try to locate license plates starting with the letter A and going all the way through to Z. It depends on how old your kids are and their current abilities.
Regardless of what you choose, you need to make sure and tell your kids before you get in the car that they can’t distract you when you’re behind the wheel. You must try to impress upon them that if they yell or throw things, that could cause you to make a mistake, and you could get in an accident.
Some parents might even use ice cream, new toys, etc., to bribe their younger kids into good car behavior. It’s not a bad thing to do if it works. You need to do whatever you can to make sure your kids stay quiet and calm till you get them safely to wherever you’re going.