How to Get the Kids Involved in Taking Care of the Family Vehicle

by Valerie, Mom Knows It All

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Do your kids make a mess in the family vehicle? Mine were a bit messy when they were much younger, as is the case with many kids. Lynn takes another approach and makes cleaning the vehicle part of their chores. I’m sharing this, what I consider to be a unique approach, with you with permission.

How to Get the Kids Involved in Taking Care of the Family Vehicle

We have all seen it before: the scene of mom’s precious minivan getting wrecked by its pint sized riders. Old tuna fish sandwiches stuffed down the rear seat pockets, dried and crusted orange juice in the cracks of the seatbelts, and crayon marks on the headrests. But what if there were ways to keep kids in line and give them a sense of responsibility when it comes to to taking care of the trusty van that gets them to school and soccer practice? It turns out that there are.

Make it part of their daily chores.

This is a great tactic when it comes to getting kids to clean up the car. You could add a monthly task like vacuuming the vehicle, cleaning out the consoles, or cleaning up under the seats to your child’s chore list. This can apply to regular maintenance, too. If you do oil changes at home, ask your children to watch and help out the next time it’s time for a new filter. Next thing you know, your kids will be reminding you when the time rolls around for that next oil change.

Take away privileges when they don’t take care of the vehicle.

There’s nothing quite like removing something that a child wants to get them to do what you want. Establish a system in which vehicle rides outside of school and the necessities is a privilege. If Junior wants you to drive them to their best friend’s house for a playdate, make sure they do their part in cleaning up their seat and general area in the car first. Without a clean car, they don’t get to ride. Simple.

Make a game out of it.

When it comes to car care, getting kids involved might seem like the least likely scenario in getting your vehicle treated right. But the best parents know that when you make a game out of it, anything is possible.

Create a game that you and the kids play in the car that’s like a sneaky version of ‘I Spy’. For everything in the car that your child spies that doesn’t belong, like a snack wrapper or a dirty sock, have them pick it up and put it in a bag. By the time you reach your destination, your vehicle will be a substantially cleaner and your child will have a bag of goodies to bring inside. You and your kids could also make up your own game. Anything that keeps them occupied and your vehicle tidier is a winner.

Keeping up with the demands of a family vehicle which you rely on daily no longer has to be the territory of the parents. Encouraging the kids to be responsible for that minivan or sedan helps them to meet your demands as a parent while also feeling like they’ve earned the privilege to use the vehicle to go to a friend’s house or the mall. Plus, making up games with your kids and creating a cleaner environment in the process is always a great way to pass time on the road.

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pat.navymom December 24, 2015 - 9:08 am

Kids need responsibilities plane and simple to form a work ethic.

Harriet December 24, 2015 - 3:05 pm

I sure wish that I knew this when my kids were growing up. Now they have their own cars.

Liz Mays December 24, 2015 - 9:37 pm

I like that tricky clean-up game. That’s such a smart way to get the car cleaned up fast and kids won’t even know they’re doing a chore.

Toughcookiemommy January 1, 2016 - 7:11 pm

I love the idea of creating a family game out of this. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved.


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