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Sanity Saving Tips for Driving with Kids

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Remember when driving as a teen meant sweet, sweet freedom? The car keys and a few bucks for gas meant you could drive where you wanted, listen to the music you liked and explore the world with your totally awesome friends. As a parent, however, driving often means listening to backseat whining, breaking up sibling fights, and telling your passengers to stop kicking your seat. These five tips for driving with kids will help save your sanity on the road and make your car feel a bit more like the freedom mobile it once was.

Sanity Saving Tips for Driving with Kids + A Happy Kids, Happy Ride Giveaway from Autotrader and

This post brought to you in partnership with Autotrader.

1. Stash the trash.

A car riddled with fish-shaped crackers and crumpled up old homework assignments can make your sweet ride feel like a big ol’ garbage truck. Keep a trash bag at the ready in your car. Once home, take a quick peek into the backseat to make sure your little darlings deposit any trash into the bag and insist they transport any extra doo-dads back into the house. Keep a pack of Wet Wipes handy to clean up messes, too. A neat car is a sane car.

2. Go hands-free.

Bluetooth is a driving parent’s best friend. This hands-free cell phone technology makes it easy and safe to call the orthodontist to let them know you’ll be late (again) or remind your spouse to pick up milk. Hurray if your ride comes equipped with this technology! If not, don’t fear, you can buy an affordable bluetooth device to make hands-free phone calls while driving a breeze.

3. Make a car kit for kids.

Travel toys and activities keep kids content not only on road trips, but also on a shorter trips around town (especially on errand heavy days!). Keep a car kit for your children in the backseat stuffed with coloring books, markers or crayons, and other portable games and puzzles. Swap them out from time to time to keep kids engaged.

You might want to stuff a couple of granola bars or other travel snacks in the glove box, too, for when hunger strikes during a traffic jam. There’s nothing worse (and I mean nothing!) than being stuck in a car with hungry, cranky, complaining kids.

4. Listening ears mean quiet mouths.

When kids get squirrelly and NOISY on the road, the best defense is offense. Meaning? Distract those mouths! Keep a CD with their favorite tunes at the ready. Say, “Ooh! Listen! It’s your favorite Taylor Swift song!” and crank that sucker up. Not working? Pop in a favorite audio book. An impromptu round of 20 Questions tends to bring the volume level down a few notches in my car.

5. Put safety first.

Moms and dads are busy. So busy, in fact, that we sometimes forget to put the most important stuff first. When driving with kids, safety is number one. Make sure to get regular oil changes and don’t ignore that menacing red “check engine” light. Check your fluids regularly and change those windshield wiper blades if they’re getting dull. Keep a first aid kit in the trunk and a pair of scissors in the glove box (to cut free passengers in case of an accident or children who’ve gotten themselves entangled in the seat belt). Whatever you do, don’t text or use social media while you drive. It’s not just teens who cause accidents by staring at their phones.

More sanity saving tips for driving with kids

Want more sanity saving tips for driving with kids? Check out these 7 Mom Hacks for Driving with Kids over on

A Note from The Travel Mama: This post was sponsored by Autotrader. Photo purchased from

About Colleen Lanin

Colleen Lanin is the founder/editor-in-chief of As the author of her book, "The Travel Mamas' Guide," she teaches parents not only how to survive a trip with children, but also how to love exploring the world with their offspring. Her stories have appeared online and in print for such outlets as the "Today" show,, Parenting Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, Chicago Tribune, Expedia, San Diego Family Magazine, and more. Colleen gives tips on television, radio, and as a public speaker. She has a master’s degree in business administration with a background in marketing. She lives in Arizona with her husband and two kids.

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  21. Best Travel Discovery says

    Thanks for tips
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