Carpool Rules for Kids

I've been carpooling at lot lately, and I've been very impressed with the majority of kids I've had in my car. Their manners are good, they're pleasant, and I love how much it cuts my drive time.

However, I've had the occasional junior passenger who doesn't seem to understand the "my car, my rules" situation, and there's nothing more irritating than attempting to subtly correct the behavior of a kid who isn't yours, and who you need to stay in good graces with so the arrangement can continue.

I also want to make sure that my kids are behaving in other people's cars. There's nothing worse than thinking you have a kid who knows how to behave, only to find out that they've been guilty of some carpool faux pas.

Everyone wears a seat-belt.
The car doesn't move until you're buckled in. I've told the kids I drive to let me know when they're secured, and only them will I take the car out of park. This means that you stay buckled, sitting correctly in your seat, for the entire ride. 
I've also told my own kids that if the driver starts driving and they haven't buckled, this is the one situation they have to ask the driver to stop and wait for them.

Driver sets the eating rules.
When I'm driving across town and the trip is under fifteen minutes, the rule is no eating during carpool. I've found that the potential for mess increases exponentially when there are multiple kids. For longer trips (I drove a group of girls to a dance event two hours away), I bend it, but it's always the driver who sets the rule. I had one girl who openly defied me once, flaunting a bag of popcorn and giggling. Naturally, she spilled it amid all her gestures and her mom was incredibly embarrassed when the girl confessed the mess she'd made.

Don't leave a mess.
Seems obvious, but I make sure my kids know. If you were given permission to eat, don't leave crumbs or wrappers. Keep your papers, shoes, and everything else in your bag and make sure you don't leave clutter.

Keep Your Body Calm
Definitely no rough housing, yelling, or wild behavior in the car. Not only is it not polite, it's distracting to the driver.

Driver chooses the music.
I've never had a kid try to fight me on this, but I've had a few ask for a station change. I tend to keep the Kidz Bop station on so I don't accidentally introduce anyone to anything inappropriate.

Use your manners.
I know, duh. But saying "thank you" when you're dropped off goes a long way. I'm not going to make a "no device" rule, but if your friends or the driver is talking to you, don't have your nose in the phone and participate in the conversation.

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