It sometimes feels like you are driving a taxi cab, and your children are the passengers. As a parent, you spend a lot of time driving them to sports practice, play practice, or any other activity. You also take them with you on errands. This is all part of being a parent and you’re willing to accept that. While you have a kid in your car, there are some things you have to remember.
1. Always be sure they are strapped in safely. This means not just seatbelts. Smaller children have to be in car seats, and you need to have a car seat that is right for the child’s age.
2. Never leave your child alone in the car. It doesn’t matter how old the child is, or if you’re only running a quick errand. Some terrible things can happen when a young person is left alone. Also, if you’re driving in hot weather be sure the air-conditioning is on or the window open a little bit.
3. Check on them occasionally. You do not want to keep your eyes off the road for a long period of time. However, it is a smart idea to every now and then to glance in the rearview mirror to see what they are doing. More often than not there is no problem. You can, however, be able to spot something that may be leading to trouble and be able to end it immediately.
4. Remember that you are the parent. This means that you are in charge, and will discipline the child if he or she gets unruly. Sometimes children don’t want to go in the car for errands and throw tantrums. Remind them that there are consequences for such behavior, and be sure to follow through if you have to do that.
5. Prepare for long trips. Family vacations are fun but they sometimes require long-distance travel. Even the best behaved children can get a little cranky if they are in the car for several hours. What you need to do as the driver is plan ahead for the trip. Make sure that there are pillows in the backseat for them to lean on, and you have books or games that they can play. You should schedule stops along the way for meals, or just to give the kids a chance to stretch their legs.
6. As a driver you are responsible for all children. Even if your passengers don’t include your own son or daughter, or are in addition to them, you have responsibility for whoever is riding with you. It means if the other children have to be reminded about courtesy, do not hesitate. If something goes wrong, you as a driver will be held responsible.
7. Always drive defensively. Your children are well behaved in the backseat and you have to be responsible behind the wheel. You may have to drive a little bit slower, but that is alright. Always be ready for any kind of unexpected development on the road. If you drive with a short clear distance behind another car, there’s less of a chance on accident caused by sudden stops.
8. Stay Relaxed and Keep Cool. Kids are going to get noisy and very busy. It is all part of the being young. You do not have to react in a harsh voice every time something happens in the backseat. Stay calm with the children, and try to make everything as positive as possible. You’ll discover that the road trip is much easier if you do.
They all grow up so fast and before you know it you will not be the driver. Sometime in the mid-teens the kids take over the wheel and you become the passenger. Until that happens, you have to remember your obligations as a driver. The safety of your children is the most important consideration. Still, you also have to remember to make the trip as enjoyable as possible. Children ordinarily behave perfectly fine in the car. What you have to do is check occasionally on their behavior and always make sure they are in safety. Do not overreact to what they are doing. You may discover that taking a trip to your children, even to the grocery store, can be a very pleasant and rewarding experience.