Whether you're in charge of transporting the peewee football team or have enough kids to make a football team of your own, driving with a carload full of kids can make even the most patient mom scream. While it’s hard to think about it, accidents with injuries are real and can happen to anyone. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving crashes in 2010 alone.
While the current campaigns are focused on texting while driving, distracted driving is de-fined as driving while engaged in any other activity and that includes yelling at kids. If you don't want to put yourself, your little ones and other drivers at risk, here are five tips that will help you stay calm when you’re out on the road:
1.Kids Will be Kids
One of the keys to driving with a car packed with kids is to remember that they are, in fact, kids. By starting off with the right expectations, you'll be less likely to lose your cool. There's little chance of each child behaving like a perfect angel in the back seat; expect them to act up a bit and ignore it. Unless your children are screaming to beat the band and you're at risk of developing a migraine, let them be kids. Try to remember that the car is not the place for discipline; wait until you get home to dish out the punishment.
2.Take Off with the Right Attitude
Before you strap the kids in their safety seats and buckle yourself safely behind the wheel, check your attitude. If you're negative or grumpy consider rescheduling your trip to the store. If you get in the car already worked up about some-thing else, every minor thing that your children do is bound to set you off and cause you to lose your focus on the road. Keep in mind that there are few trips that can't be put off until you're in a better, safer mood.
3.The Rules of the Road
We're not talking about driving laws, we're talking about the rules your kids have to follow while the car is moving. If you don't tell your children what you expect of them, how are they supposed to know how to behave? If you want to be able to keep your focus on the road while your kids are crammed in the backseat, you've got to be sure that you've told them how to behave. Your children should know exactly what’s expected of them and what the consequences are for misbehaving.
You're a mom, which means that you know that a busy kid is a quiet kid. Let your kids pack their own little bag full of entertainment, and keep the bags in the car. Your smallest children may want to pack favorite picture books or coloring books and crayons. Older children may want to pack a hand-held gaming system and a few games. If you drive for the local kiddie carpool, pack a few age-appropriate bags that you can give to your charges while they're riding in your vehicle. Kids with things to do in the car are less likely to misbehave and you'll be less likely to lose your focus.
No matter how old your kids are, a couple of mobile devices and a matching number of earbuds will keep your kids quiet and content. Load favorite songs, books and videos onto your mobile devices and let your kids listen to them in the car. If you make sure that the kids are using ear-buds, you'll be able to enjoy blissful quiet while you're driving down the highway. Calculate your time wisely and download media that will keep your children's attention for the greater part of your trip.
Your kids can be distracting on the best days never mind on the worst. If you're planning on packing your minivan full of kids, make sure that you're in the right mindset before you take off down the road. Your attitude, along with children who know what is expected of them and are kept entertained, are the keys in you being able to keep your focus on the road.
Author Karen Boyarsky is an advertising copywriter and an avid blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @Boyarsky_kareni.
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