One of the biggest distractions on the road is not your cellphone or trying to tune your radio, but the children in your car. Whether they are screaming their heads off about nothing in particular or are distraught because one is poking the other, kids in your car can be a big distraction, especially if you are the only adult in the car. Here nine tips to help you make driving with kids in the car a little bit easier:
1. If you need to discipline a child, pull over first. You do not want to be trying to pull two children apart or discipline a child while also trying to focus on the road and pilot a car. If you have kids in the car and you need to talk to them or do something in the backseat to keep them call, pull off to the side of the road before doing anything. Especially if your child is demanding immediate attention, do not try to argue or reason with them while driving. They do not understand what is required of a person while they are driving and will not understand why they cannot talk to you or get your full attention right now.
2. Keep your eyes on the road. One of the worst things you can do while driving is to try to keep one eye in your rearview mirror and keep the other eye on the road in front of you. While driving, actually driving should be your primary focus. You might feel likely you need to repeatedly check on your child in the backseat, but the best thing you can be doing to keep them safe is to keep your eyes on the road and pay attention to the most demanding thing on your plate: driving forward.
3. Tell your child to wait. If they are trying to demand your attention right now, while you are trying to drive, it is time for you tell them to wait. While they might not understand how demanding driving is, they should understand what you mean when you say that you need them to wait until you have gotten where you are going before you can pay attention to what they are saying or what they are doing. This might incur a tantrum. You might just have to listen to the tantrum while you finish your drive. They might actually tire themselves out by the time you get to your destination and they will be much more pleasant to be around.
4. Distract them with something. A vehicle that has a built in DVD player and a headphone jack is a great opportunity to distract your children while driving. If they are too engrossed in their favorite television show, you will not have to worry about them fighting with one another or throwing a fit while trying to get your attention. If you can find something to distract them, even just a tablet or a book or a toy, you will have a much more pleasant driving experience.
5. Bring lots of toys. If you can pile their favorite toys in the seat next to them, they will probably be distracted for long enough for you to get to your destination. Especially if you have more than one child and they like to play with certain toys together, now is the ideal time to make sure that they are have plenty of things to distract themselves with. When they are not paying attention to your or what is going on beyond the window, you will probably have a much more pleasant driving experience.
6. Set some rules. If your child is old enough, it is worth your time to sit that child down and to talk about some rules of the road. This will keep both of you safer. When they understand that you cannot pay attention to them while you are driving, they are less likely to expect that you are going to. Setting ground rules before getting into the car for the first time and reminding them of the rules at each subsequent trip will make driving better for all involved.
7. Don’t talk on the phone and drive. This is important for every driver, but especially for drivers with kids in the car. The cellphone is a major distraction, even if the car is coming through your car’s infotainment system. Your primary goal right now should be to get your child to the destination safely. Talking on the phone, even if you are not holding that phone up to your ear only adds another distraction, making driving even more dangerous.
8. Use mirrors. If you need to check on your child, do it by looking in your rearview mirrors. If you have put your child in a rear-facing seat, you might want to put a mirror on the headrest of the seat that they are strapped into, so you can monitor them without having to turn around in your seat and look at them. Even during the calmest drives, on the calmest days, turning in your seat to look into the back of your car is extremely dangerous.
9. Keep a car kit just for your kids. This might be a collection of snacks that they can eat if they are starting to get hungry a fussy, along with an emergency toy and some water or juice. These are simply things to keep your kid happy when they are on the verge of a tantrum.
For more great tips or to look at some of the best vehicles for families, come visit our Kia dealership, at any of our three locations!