8 car rules for kids

Make time on the road Less stressful by setting rules for the road

We Moms spend much of our lives in the car. 

We take kids to school, to soccer, to piano, to swim lessons, to the beach, to playdates, to baseball, to birthday parties, to orthodontist appointments, and on. And on.

Daily traffic can be stressful enough. Add an out-of-control child or three, and life on the road can get really headache-inspiring.

While we can't do much about the daily traffic snarls, we can exert some control over how our little passengers behave en route. These 8 car rules for kids can help make our time on the road less stressful.

1.  Dial Down the Volume 

No screaming or shouting in the car.

2.  No Arguing in the Car

No arguing in the car.

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 give away the TV one day.

3.  Big Fights Will Result in the Car Pulling Over

Car safety dictates we don't want to try to resolve disputes while driving.

So when arguments ignite - immediately pull over. Kids know when you've pulled off the road suddenly that this is not good news. Fight game over.

4.  Seat Belts Are Non-Negotiable

The reason for this rule is apparent. It's the law. You can easily enforce this one with younger kids by telling them - as I did when my daughter was 5 or 6 - that the car won't start unless everyone's seat belts are fastened.

I think I got away with this until she was about 11.

5.  No One Under 12 Rides in the Front Seat

No one under age 12 rides in the front seat. This one is a good safety rule for the road, even if you don't have a passenger-side airbag.

6.  No Touching Anything or Anyone

No touching window, radio, or any other controls unless expressly directed to do so by the driver. (And keep your hands to yourself, please.)

7.  Don't Leave Wrappers or Leftovers in the Car

All leftovers and wrappers must be put in the car trash can or in a bag that can be tossed upon arriving home or at the destination. (Or in the fridge if the leftovers are keepers!)

8.  Everyone Helps Unload the Car

No one can go into the house until everything is unloaded from the car. 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. 

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