Driving with a child in the backseat can be a thrilling and frustrating experience. All the rules of driving seem to change from the moment you install your first car seat. Newborns will generally scream, toddlers will generally through tantrums, and older children generally have needs that they think can be attended to while on the road.

While I’d like to say everything about motherhood is an exciting and rewarding experience, I can’t. That would be a lie. There are moments when motherhood is everything a parent dream it would be, but those moments never occur on the road.

Remember when you were a kid and you looked forward to road trips? I know I have some fond memories of going places with my family, but I conveniently forgot one thing. How annoying I was. And how stressed out my parents seemed to be. Taking a road trip with children in the car is no vacation.

Although these days we have the convenience of DVD players, that doesn’t keep the kids from wanting things. Plus, who wants their kids to watch eight hours of T.V. while you go visit the in-laws? It’s not really healthy.

The fact is, it’s going to be hard to have kids in the car, but they can be trained. Of course, nothing can guarantee your child will be perfect for you, but there are things that can be done to help them learn to how to deal with long trips in the car.

Make Rules

This one seems fairly obvious. Of course there should be rules in the car. But how much are you enforcing those rules? When I drive, there is one big rule my kids have to follow. When mom is driving, I can’t help you. If I’m the passenger seat, the rule is different. But if I’m driving, I will not reach back to help the kids. If their movie ends, too bad. If they drop a toy or blanket, they are out luck. This rule can be hard to enforce, but I’ve found it necessary for road safety.

It will be hard at first. Your children will cry and complain and throw fits, and you will have to ignore them. It may take some time, but they’ll learn that you don’t respond to their tantrums. Eventually, they’ll stop asking.

Recognize That They Don’t Need to be Entertained Every Moment

Kids have huge imaginations, and they have windows to look out. Don’t be afraid to let them daydream. They may complain when they don’t have anything to do at first, but it won’t take them long to start thinking about the world outside the car. It’s a great time for them to use their brains. Let them have the quiet time. Some of my favorite memories are me making up stories in my head on long car trips, and now I’m a writer. I don’t know that I could say that had I never day dreamed.

Being a mom and the driver is difficult work, and through it can be stressful, it can benefit your kids in the end.

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