We spend much of our family lives in the car.
We run errands. We take kids to school, to soccer, to piano, to swim lessons, on playdates, and on. And on.
What all this time on the road really means is that our wheels are also our home away from home.
So why not make it a peaceful one as well - or at the very least, not stressful?
It can be done - with these 8 simple rules of the road.
Just like rules at home you can enforce with time-out penalties or the removal of privileges, rules of the road are no different. Make them - and then enforce them.
Yes, arguing can be legislated. Try this: Once you say "stop!" the next kid to continue to argue in any way, shape, or form loses one day of TV or other coveted privileges.
Each additional offense loses another day. (Hey, you could sell the TV one day!)
We don't want to try to resolve family disputes will driving. So when arguments ignite - immediately pull over. Kids know when you've pulled off the road suddenly that this is definitely not good news. Fight game over.
The reason's obvious. You can easily enforce this with younger kids by telling them - as I did when my daughter was 5 or 6 - that the car simply won't start unless everyone's seat belts are fastened.
I think I got away with this until she was about 11.
This one is just a good safety rule, even if you don't have a passenger-side air bag.
No touching window, radio, or any other controls unless expressly directed to do so by the driver.
Passengers must put leftovers and wrappers in the car trash can or in a bag that can be tossed upon arriving home or at the destination.
Each child is responsible for getting his or her stuff - all of it - to and from the car.
Yes, kids, this does mean you'll sometimes have to make two or even three trips after arriving home. Just like Mom.
About the Author
Tara Aronson is a native Californian. Having grown up in San Diego, she studied journalism and Spanish to pursue a career in newspaper writing. Tara, whose three children - Chris, Lyndsay, and Payne - are the light of her life, now lives and writes in Los Angeles. She also regularly appears on television news programs throughout the U.S.