Helpful Tips for Carpool Parents

Ah, carpool. It can be a blessing and a curse at the same time. With parents and kids being busier than ever before, we tend to spend a lot of time running around, driving to and fro, shuffling kids from one thing to the next. When you sign up for a carpool, it means that you might have a little more weekly freedom, but it also comes with a lot of added responsibility. Here are a few tips for how to handle carpool life.

Get to know the other carpool drivers

You wouldn't let your kid get into a car with a stranger, nor should you let them ride with a parent you don't know. When you join a carpool, take time to meet the other parents face to face. Get together for a casual meal or coffee, and talk about expectations for the carpool. That way, everyone involved feels safe and everyone is on the same page.

Be respectful of everyone's time and schedules

So many of today's families are on tight schedules. If you're driving carpool, be respectful of everyone's time. Pick up and drop off the kids on time. Don't make other parents have to rearrange their schedules because you're running late for no good reason.

Set rules for your car on the very first day

Every driver is different and will likely have different rules for their car. My motto is- my car, my rules, and I don't care what so and so's mom lets the kids do in her car. Make safety a top priority and tell the kids that they have to help keep noise, distractions, and messes to a minimum.

Change it up

Unless everyone in the carpool absolutely loves their scheduled day and time to pick up and drop off, change up the schedule every now and then. Depending on the parent's schedules, switch who picks up and who drops off, and on which days. You can stick to the same schedule for the entire school year or switch it up quarterly, or in January.

Maintain your car

This should go without saying, but do make sure to keep your car in good shape. Keep it clean- inside and out, and make sure everything works properly at all times. Other parents won't feel comfortable allowing their children to ride with you if something is amiss with your vehicle.

Keep the mood light and fun

School can be really tough on kids, so be sure to greet them with a warm smile and happy hello, even if you've had a rough day, yourself. Kids need all of the love and encouragement they can get!

Set up a 'treat day'

It might not be the kind of thing you're able to do every week, but maybe once a month, set up a treat day, and treat the kids after school. Maybe you can all go out for an ice cream cone or swing by the donut shop after pick up. I love doing this with my own kids once a month, just as a special treat. Make sure to check with the other parents before taking the kids anywhere other than their drop off locations, and check to make sure that they don't have any food allergies, too.

Carpool life doesn't have to be taxing. It can be a lot of fun, and really can be helpful to parents with tight or full schedules. Just make sure to help ensure that your carpool group stays well organized and on the same page throughout the year, and it should all be smooth sailing!

Do you participate in a carpool group? What are your best tips?

Brought to you by Charlies Dodge.

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