Every parent and child-carer knows, that at some point the car can become a bone of contention creating sibling wars and the need for justice whilst you are trying to referee and stay focused on the road to keep your family safe.
The reality is if healthy boundaries have not been put in place and you haven’t taught your children the life skills they need, then inevitably, at some point in the journey, ‘are we there yet’ will be fueled by children who start to get on each other’s nerves. The ability to antagonize one another becomes a successful task as the children are all sitting so close together. Your need to control the situation and manage the circumstances as an adult in the passenger seat, if not handled correctly can lead to potentially dangerous situations. Not only for your own family but for others on the road. I’ve lost count with the number of cars I have sat in on, only to have eyes at the back of my head in making sure everybody was safe. Ultimately if clear instructions and expectations are given before we get into the car we can minimize such squabbles whilst still considering and respecting the need for us all to stretch our legs and take 15 minutes when on long car journeys. So, to apply this technique I suggest you practice this drill at home on the weekend to get ready for the week ahead.
How to Practice
- Pre-think how best to seat the kids, sometimes car seats for the youngest dictate this. However, kids close in age can swap DVD and music devices between themselves.
- Verbally tell your children they will be practising a car technique, no different than the drills they practice at school. Assign them their seat and be assertive, your job is to get your whole family in the car and swiftly.
- Keep a few random items, toys and games plus a few snacks and water in the car in a box. This helps save time for families who have several children.
- Safety First – Please check all car seats, making sure that seat belts are on too.
- Make sure your children ALWAYS enter the car from the side of safety as children my go around the outside of a car to open a door nearer their seat. (You would be surprised how many children I see do this.)
- Lay down the rules and expectations and please remind your children that you being focused on the road does not give them permission to behave in a manner that will not be addressed because you are driving.
- Drills should be followed through with an assertive tone and minimum fuss. The more you practice the more well versed your children will be, creating less mayhem getting into the car.
If you feel as the driver, a situation is getting out of hand; make sure to stop and pull over. Remember, you are literally in the driver’s seat. As we can expect arguments from time to time in the car, what we cannot breach is the safety of us all in the car.
Copywritten by Jo Frost