Did you know that nearly two-thirds of Australian parents spend up to a full work day (eight hours) every week in the car doing ‘taxi duty’ for the kids.
New research from Allianz Australia has revealed that we’re a nation of parent taxi drivers, with one in ten parents spending nine or more hours a week picking up and dropping off.
It’s not that hard to believe when you count up all the time you’re ferrying the kids to and from school, sports, extra-murals, play dates and more.
The Taxi Hours Add Up
“It’s amazing how quickly the ‘parent taxi’ hours can add up and become a big challenge for mums and dads as they try to balance family life with work and other priorities – and, of course, traffic,” said Allianz Australia Chief Market Manager Nick Adams.
No Such Thing As A Lazy Weekend
And there’s certainly no break on the weekends, with many parents actually doing more taxi-time. Nearly half (44%) of parents report spending up to three hours driving their kids around every Saturday, and more than a third (36%) report the same on a Sunday.*
So what can we do about mums’ and dads’ taxi service? Well, only 35% of Aussie parents are actually carpooling* so of course we could try and share lifts to reduce the taxi load.
But if you’re going to be stuck in the car with the kids, at least make it a productive time.
We’ve put together some useful tips on how you can make the most of your parent taxi time:
Have A Tricky Talk To The Kids
Need to tackle a thorny topic with the kids? Leave it for the car. A drive is actually one of the best places to have a tough conversation with a kid, especially if you’re navigating through the teen years. Why? Well, there are fewer distractions around and kids can’t really escape. There is less eye-contact bringing down the intensity of the conversation. Plus you’ve got limited time so you need to get the point quickly. According to family psychologist, Dr Fred Peipman “You are out and about in the world and at the same time a bit isolated, so people can be somewhat disinhibited,” Peipman says. “People say things in a car that they’d never say to someone on the street because there is a perceived separation. For a parent-child discussion dynamic, it’s great.”
Try and keep the conversation relaxed. Start with a casual topic and then move onto the more serious stuff. End off with a joke or switch to a lighter topic. And remember to listen!
In a world of iPads and smart phones, it’s easy to just shove a device in your children’s hand to keep them quiet. Put down the phone and switch off the music and talk. One trick to try is to ask your child to share their most and least favourite part of the day. This often gets the kids chatting away. Also, offer to share your favourite and least favourite part of the day.
You’ve got a captive audience in the car so driving time is a great way to quiz your kids on their general knowledge, spelling, numbers and homework. Offer them an incentive for every question they get right. Turn the tables and get them to ask you a question too, for a bit of fun.
Do your own version of carpool karaoke. Each person in the car has a chance to pick a song. Then turn up the volume and everyone has to sing their heart out. So much fun!
Play Neverending Story
This is a brilliantly fun game to play in the car and keeps the kids amused for ages. One person starts a story and after a minute or so, the next person continues the story and this continues until the game loses its momentum or you’ve reached your destination. It’s hilarious to see what twists the tale takes.
Focus On The Kids
With all the driving we’re doing, it’s a relief to know that we can focus on the kids and our driving while Allianz takes care of the rest.
“A busy ‘parent taxi’ schedule is stressful enough, which is why Allianz’s thing is helping parents to focus on driving with the peace of mind that they’re insured in the event of an accident so they can get back to making that dance recital or school pick-up as soon as possible,” adds Adams.
For more information on Allianz car insurance, visit https://www.allianz.com.au/car-insurance/.
These top tips are bought to you by Allianz Car Insurance.
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