7 Driving Tips for Parents-to-be

It’s fair to say that when you’re expecting a new addition to the family your overriding concern is making sure that you’re fully prepared for the life-changing arrival of the little guy or gal. With nine months to prepare what could you possibly miss? We recently polled a group of parents and they agreed that one of the key things they neglected to consider was how the arrival of their bundle of joy would affect their driving habits.

Here is what they wish they knew about cars and driving when they were expecting:


1. Find Child-Friendly Places Beforehand

As much as you’d love to think your child will sleep soundly in their car seat for the full extent of a long journey and those screaming, “Are we there yet?” children are just found in bad movies, this is unfortunately often not the case.

AJ Durling, father of two, has suggested doing your research before hitting the road as a way of keeping the kids entertained on the dreaded family road-trip:
“My wife and I love driving around – always have done – but we had some trouble in finding interesting places to stop along the routes of our various journeys with three children. Now we use websites like roadtripradar.com.
Here you can select to search for only “Child-Friendly” places of interest for your journey, so that it will only display child friend attractions (such as
museums, soft-play areas, kid-friendly pubs and restaurants, etc)”.

2. Keep a Change of Clothes in the Car

American mum Carly, the mother of a four year old son, suggests ascribing to Murphy’s Law; “whatever can go wrong, will go wrong” (see also no.5) when traveling with a very young child:

“Before I had my son I wish someone would have told me to always
make sure to have a change of clothes for myself in the car.

The first time I took my son on a lengthy car trip, his dirty diaper leaked all over the car seat and all over me when I had to pick him up to clean it off.
Needless to say, I arrived at my destination in desperate need of a clean shirt!”

3. Bring Lots of Little Toys

Maria, mother of one, found herself unable to placate her baby whenever they were in the car, so developed an ingenious (or desperate) alternative: constant distractions!

“After getting stuck by the roadside for hours (waiting for the kid
who objected to being in the car, to fall asleep) quite a few times, we
developed a procedure. I had a giant basket of tiny toys, literally a toy
for every 5 seconds of the trip, where I could reach. I gave my baby a toy
every few seconds, as soon as the baby discarded the previous one. Finally
we could go places without the baby getting upset. Problem solved.

“Nothing else worked for us – we got one of those kids who disliked cars. We
used this trick throughout the first year, until the attention span grew
long enough to watch movies on a laptop (no tablets back then) or to look
at books. The trick saved us a lot of grief”.

4. Think Before Upsizing to a Bigger Car

Angela’s suggestion that the problem is with the car and not the children is a naïve and wishful sentiment:
“We have two kids and a 40-minute commute. I wish I had known that when we bought a new car, that upsizing to one that would hold all our frustrations by the end of a week commuting was a lost cause. Our bigger car uses more gas, but no car will ever be big enough to minimize crying, bickering, or commute exhaustion”.
Sad but true.

5. Get Pads on Car Seats

Carrie, mom to five adopted kids says:
“Invest in the pads that go on car seats. They are easily removable and can be thrown in the wash. Otherwise you will have to take apart the entire padding on the car seat to wash it every time your child’s diaper leaks, or worse yet, falls asleep during potty training, during summer…bad combination!”

6. Have a Place for Rubbish

Sara has two sons and she advises to put your pride to one side: your car will become a tip, how big a tip relies on you:
“Having a place for toys, trash and food is great for relieving stress and chaos. I think every time I cleaned out my car, I found a hamburger when my kids were little! If only I’d had a place for trash and food!”

7. Get Kids to Cooperate

Ellie has three boys under 7, so she enlisted the help of her older children to act as miniature dustmen:
If you have other children, this is the time to ask them to help you out with the littlest one.
“My two older boys are required to pick up at least five pieces of something that shouldn’t be there, every time we arrive home from school.”
Hey, you own them: get them to work!

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