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!

Play Favourites

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.

Quiz Them

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.

Carpool Karaoke

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.

*Disclaimer:
Allianz Car Insurance is issued by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider the product disclosure statement available here.

 


  • We do alot of our bonding in the car. Alot of the more ‘serious’ chats happen in the car too.

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  • I agree with mom176887. I talk with my daughter in the car but my primary focus is on the road and often times I have to stop our conversation to concentrate on traffic. I’d rather get home safely, then talk.


    • I agree, I stop and park the car on the side of the road when a conversation started in the car becomes intense, or otherwise wait with bringing things up till home. I find it very hard to focus on the traffic and concentrate on a deeper or emotional conversation in the meantime.

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  • Sorry, the car is a place where EVERYONE needs to be concentrating. You can kill people with one wrong move. You should be teaching kids to concentrate on the road and the hazards out there. And DOING THE SAME YOURSELF…. I don’t think it is a time or place to be discussing anything very much at all. Keep chat to the bare minimum… Get your kids looking out for hazards even before they start to learn to drive.. are there kids playing with a ball, bikes, a car speeding by, a truck reversing from a driveway, etc. TEACH THEM THE CAR IS A DANGEROUS WEAPON and car journeys are to be taken seriously. They are not a time for bonding. They are a time for making sure you DON”T KILL ANYONE. Also some discussions can raise conflict and difficult feelings… again being on the road is NOT the place for these emotions to come up in passengers or drivers. BAD IDEA to use time in the car for anything other than keeping the road toll down.


    • Finely someone writing sense,I applaud you and agree the car is NO place for games,Can people please look at our national death loss through motor vehicles and explain to us all how any of this behaviour can be supported.Cheer’s Krusty.

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  • Love the tips and Ideas, I have done some of these in the past.

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  • These tips are great! We have a five hour road trip coming up and I’d much rather use the time to bond with my daughters rather than them be absorbed in their iPads the whole time x

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  • Some great game ideas there. Will definitely be playing them with our boys especially since the holidays are not far off.

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  • We have great fun in the car, and sometimes not! We have the best talks in the car. My son feels safe and will often discuss the most deepest of things whilst I’m driving. We also have a music thing going, so it’s often fun.

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  • Interesting read. I do many of these things when we’re walking to and from school during the week. Sometimes it’s nice to just have a quiet car ride, we don’t need to be productive every second of the day.

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  • These are great ideas. We spend a lot of time in the car travelling to visit family and do/play a lot these mentioned. Our favorite Carpool Karaoke – we all love to sing.

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  • I love the time with the kids in the car, we “sing” along to the music, play travel games and I explain lots of things to them, like how where the sun goes at night, the moons orbit (it’s not following us), gravity, why we can’t eat maccas every time we drive past it, how rainbows are made, and any other topic that comes up… thankfully the topic of how babies r made hasn’t come up yet! It’s great time spent together, it doesn’t matter if it’s a 5 min or 2 hour drive, you can discuss so much!

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  • I tend to walk a lot with my kids which gives me the chance to talk about what’s around us etc. When we are in the car, we play lots of games to keep them amused. The games we play reflect on what they are learning at school (ex. Eye spy with sounds). We sing, talk about the highlights of their day & even pointing out things outside the car. It’s never quiet in our car rides

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  • We didn’t spend a great deal of time in the car. If we did have a long car trip happening, then we did use to play games such as I Spy and Red Car Yellow Car etc. Trying to keep the kids entertained, no iPads back then lol

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  • Childcare workers have taught me not to under utilise moments where children can be engaged such as nappy changes or when in the car – all learning opportunities! My daughter has been asking about death, dying and who will look after her lately! Just before we click our seatbelts!

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  • We don’t spend that much time in the car, but when we do, we already do some of thse.

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  • Great advice. Our school trips were an hour in the car a day and we discussed everything and did homework and made up stories. Such fun.

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