If you’re anything like me, you’ll be well acquainted with the backseat bickering phenomenon. Kids who get along perfectly well at home suddenly break down into squabbling and fighting as soon as they hit that backseat. This irritating habit can cause plenty of frustration for parents, as well as distracting you from the important business of driving safely. Try out these bicker-busting tips on your kids today.
If your kids normally get along with each other but tend to fight once they’re in the car, boredom is probably at the root of the issue rather than genuine sibling rivalry. Distractions and games will help you get from A to B without descending into chaos. Get a box or bag and fill it with toys and games, then keep it in the car at all times as the designated car distraction box. If the toys don’t seem to work, play the license plate game or I Spy until you reach your destination.
Make sure that your kids know that the usual house rules also apply when they’re in the car. Draw up a new list of ‘Car Rules’ and stick them to the back of the front seats. These rules should clearly state that any kind of verbal or physical fighting is not acceptable. Create a rewards and consequences system to teach your kids that the car rules were made to be followed, and aim to follow through on them at all times.
Show Them Your Serious
I have a tendency to make idle threats when my kids are fighting and I’m trying to focus on driving; if I had a nickel for every time I’ve shrieked, “I will pull over right now” we could probably afford a bigger car with a soundproof section for each child. Following through on that threat can make all the difference. Start pulling over instead of threatening, and sit calmly and quietly until your kids realise that they won’t be going anywhere until they settle down. Explain to them that they’re arguing is making it too dangerous to drive, so you’ll just have to sit at the side of the road until they’re ready to make up.
If your kids tend to fight over who gets to sit where, take over and make the decision for them. Assign seats and let that be the final word. You can switch the assigned seats once a week or on a monthly basis to mix things up if they’re really unhappy with your choices.
If your children are old enough to sit in the front seat, create a rota that designates the front seat to a particular child on alternate days. They’ll soon get into the swing of new schedule and it will give them one less thing to fight about.
Road trips are usually a fertile breeding ground for bored, argumentative kids. If you’re planning a long distance trip in the car, schedule in plenty of stops to give your kids the chance to get out and stretch their legs on a regular basis. Aim to stop in places that have a playground or park so they can really run around and let some energy out. Bring plenty of snacks and distractions and keep them engaged throughout the journey to stop boredom and frustrating from ruining the whole family’s mood.