The other day I had a friend post a facebook status that went something like this “They say if you drive distracted you are a danger to the road. I guess I’m a danger every time I drive with the kids in the car.” When I read that I nodded my head in agreement. Kids are always shouting things and crying and generally driving me insane while I’m trying to drive. And though I can’t say I have all the answers I have found a few things to help me keep my concentration on the road.
Let ‘em Cry
This one is the hardest, but also the most important. It’s a natural instinct as a mother to want to help your kids feel safe when they are driving with you. Whether they think they need milk, or they dropped a toy, or whatever the case may be, sometimes you just have to let them cry. If they’re older you can explain to them that you are driving and trying to keep your eyes on the road so that no accidents happen. If they are younger you may just have to turn up the music and block them out. Only do this if you aren’t far from your destination. But if the drive is longer —
As hard as it is, and as much as you want to be wherever it is you need to be, sometimes it’s better to pull over and take care of your child’s needs. I wouldn’t recommend this all the time (you don’t want your kids thinking you will pull over for something little, they do need to learn how to behave in a car after all) but if your child cannot calm down and you see no other option, don’t be afraid to take this one. Don’t worry about being late. Whatever it is can wait, you need to think about your safety and your children’s safety first.
Prepare in Advance
DVD players are a nice addition to the car. They can keep your child quiet and entertained for quite some time. Personally, I don’t like to use these too much. I like to limit how much television my kids watch so sometimes it’s important to have other activities. When I’m going for a long drive I’ll prepare a little bag with easy snacks and books that I can hand back to them without taking my eyes off the road. Generally, the stack of stuff is quite large (kids drop things a lot and you don’t want to be searching the floor for their stuff) it keeps them happy, and you less stressed out about the drive.
Next time you get in the car with your kids remember to think about your driving safety first. Yes, kids have needs, but it is more important that you don’t get in an accident than if they don’t have whatever it is they want. Stay sharp on the road and drive safe!