Rules for a Peaceful Roadtrip

What to hold firm on, what to let go. Maybe your family is pretty relaxed in the car, and maybe you're not, but on road trips, we only have a few rules, and everything else is all about survival. The kids think that the trip has started as soon as you've left your driveway, so you might as well embrace the ride too!

Obviously everyone stays buckled in their own seats. That rule goes without saying whenever we're in a car.

Our road trip rules:

1) No yelling.This rule applies to everyone in the car. Everyone. The kids are not allowed to yell at each other. The parents are not allowed to yell at the kids. No one is allowed to yell at anyone, in or out of the car.

No, we don't have to get along for five hours with no issues, but yelling in a confined space doesn't help anything. It escalates conflict, it distracts the driver, and it's really hard to ignore.

2) If you need a break, request a break.This is a situation where my husband and I are very different. When he travels alone for work, no matter the mode of transportation, he tries to make the total travel time as short as possible.

I'm always a bit more relaxed - I don't like hard deadlines for car travel because there is so much chance built in. I'd rather kill time once I've arrived than panic because I'm sitting in traffic. And if I have to make a rest stop, I'll make one. 

When it's the two of us, we compromise, but when we travel with the kids, I win. I made the rule as soon as my oldest was potty training that if you need to stop, you ask to stop. Maybe you need a restroom, maybe you aren't feeling well, but if you need to stop, we will always listen and do our best (now that they're older, we do tell them that we aren't magic and can't instantly pull over, so do plan accordingly).

My husband had to get used to this, but eventually, he realized that letting the kids know that they wouldn't get met with annoyance for requesting a potty break or because a tummy hurts made for a much more pleasant trip, even if it did add a little time. Seriously, ten minutes out of the car in exchange for no tears, clean seats and happy kids? No brainer.

3) When we are stopped, EVERYBODY gets out and EVERYBODY pees. I'm pretty sure my husband fakes it - the man is a camel. But this rule makes our stops much less frequent. Everyone gets a moment to stretch, readjust their snacks, and everyone tries to pee.

That's it. Three rules. No yelling, ask for help, and pee before we start driving. I don't care how long you watch a movie, what you eat, and what happens back there (although remember, you will be cleaning up your mess and trash, so don't lose your mind). You might argue, but these are the trips you'll remember with your family. Three rules keep us close, happy, and arriving in one piece!

About the Author: Meredith Napolitano blogs at, where she writes about raising kids while keeping her own identity as well! Follow her on Facebook!

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