Fall is here, which means that parents everywhere will suddenly find themselves behind the wheel—a lot. From school drop-offs to soccer practice to ballet recitals to sleepovers to Halloween parties, fall means a return to the back-to-school grind and chauffeur duties for mom and dad.
But luckily, there are some genius products that will make your car as high-tech and luxurious as the Paw Patroller! Here are 13 things you need to make your “mom car” a well-oiled machine.
1. Back Seat Organizers
Purchase a back seat organizer for each of the seats in front of your kids. You can use them as water bottle or juice box holders, as well as places to store things like snacks, toys, books and even tablets.
2. Emergency Kit
Everyone needs an emergency kit in their car, whether they have small children or not. You can buy one ready-made from Amazon or your local mechanic, or you can put together your own with the help of a chart such as this one from Pinterest.
3. Car-Only Toys
Go to the dollar store or check out the sale section of your local toy store. Snag a few toys that you know your kiddos will love, then store in them in a small box in your car. Tell your kids that they are only for the car, and that they can’t be taken inside. This will make car trips fun and exciting, as your little passengers will be eager to get in and play with all their cool new toys.
4. Cures For Car Sickness
It’s not uncommon for kids to deal with car sickness, especially if they are reading or watching videos on a tablet. Thankfully, it’s easy to keep the queasy at bay. Check out these ideas from Jessica at Life as A Mom, and make sure that you are always prepared for your kids’ tummy rumblings.
5. A Travel Toilet
Whether you are in the middle of potty-training, or your child deals with GI issues like irritable bowel syndrome, sometimes kiddos just can’t wait until you find a public bathroom. Purchase a small camp toilet to store in the car for emergencies, or buy a small plastic potty-training toilet from the baby section of your local store.
6. Travel Games
Keeping little ones occupied during car rides isn’t always easy, whether you are taking a road trip or just driving across town to a doctor’s appointment. With these downloadable car games from Etsy, you can entertain and educate your kids all at once. Go to Chasing Creatives store on Etsy to download, or to get inspired to come up with your own ideas.
7. Changes Of Clothing
Pack a small suitcase with at least one change of clothing for all of your children, including extras like underwear, socks, jackets, mittens and hats. The weather can be unpredictable, not to mention, spills and accidents are bound to happen on the road, so it’s always important to make sure you have changes of clothing—even for yourself!
8. Amazon Echo Dot
With this awesome device, you can play songs, listen to podcasts, dictate messages, make phone calls and get news updates. You can even give your at-home Alexa verbal commands to, say, turn off the lights or adjust the thermostat. Best of all, it’s totally hands-free, which means you can do all of these things without jeopardizing your family’s safety while you’re behind the wheel.
Why in the world do you need a towel in your car? Well, you never know! It could be because the slides at the park are all wet from last night’s rainfall. It could be because your child spills juice all over the floor. It could be because you want to spread it on the grass for an impromptu picnic. It could be because all the bleachers are taken at your kid’s Little League game. It could be because you have to spread it on a bathroom floor for a diaper change. Trust me: Just throw a beach towel in your trunk. It will come in handy someday soon!
10. Plastic Bags
‘Cause you never know when you will need a place to throw a dirty diaper or when you might (heaven forbid) need a barf bag.
11. An Extra Phone Charger
Have an outlet that you can use at a Starbucks or local coffee shop, as well as one that connects to the car’s USB outlet. Because you won’t be able to get anything done while you’re waiting for the kids to finish soccer practice if your battery is dead.
12. Water And Snacks
Make sure you have a couple of glass water bottles that you can fill up. (Plastic doesn’t do well in the heat). Bring non-perishable snacks, like pretzel sticks, granola bars, dry cereal and dried fruit. Try this recipe for loaded granola bars with vegan caramel from Lauren Caris Cooks.
13. Musts For Mom And Dad
It’s not all about the kids. Make sure the car is stocked with your essentials as well. An extra pair of sunglasses, lip balm, eye drops or fresh contact lenses, an extra pair of eyeglasses, hair ties, hair brush, hand lotion, hand sanitizer will go a long way in keeping you comfortable on the road. For a little on-the-go luxury, stash a travel-sized face-freshening spray in the car for those days when you’re exhausted and need a quick pick-me-up before your next stop.