10 Ways to Survive the Carpool

By , SparkPeople Blogger
By Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC, the Mojo Coach

Although it may be hard to believe, spring’s really just around the corner. And along with spring come baseball, softball, soccer and all kinds of other after-school activities. If it seems like you’re going to spend the season trapped behind the wheel of your car, don’t despair. Here are some great tricks to make the most of your carpool time and get through the season happier and healthier than ever!

  1. Pack some healthy snacks for the road: Keep a little baggie of nuts, some fruit, or a granola bar in your purse. Bring something to keep you from visiting the vending machines or the snack bar.

  2. Carry a water bottle: Keep a small cooler in the car, and fill it with ice and place your reusable water bottles inside. Pack the kids' bottles in there too.

  3. Do laps: Walk around the field or court or neighborhood while you wait for the kids to do their thing. Or run. Do something that keeps you moving. Clip on a pedometer to see how many steps you’ve taken and celebrate your success!

  4. Play along: If you have other kids with you, rather than giving them a coloring book while big brother is practicing, play with them. Climb on the jungle gym. Kick a soccer ball. Play tag.

  5. Do isometrics: That means squeeze your butt while you sit, suck in your stomach, tense up and relax your legs. You can work in exercise any time, any place.

  6. Plan your meals: Stash some of your favorite healthy cookbooks in the car and use your downtime to do some healthy meal planning!

  7. Schedule your week: Get out your calendar and block out when you are going to exercise for the next week. Put it on your calendar like a "real" appointment and you are more likely to do it!

  8. Journal: Take advantage of a quiet moment alone in the car and work on your food journal...or a regular journal. Take some time for yourself and relax a bit!

  9. Entertain yourself: Healthy isn't only about exercise and diet, your mind gets hungry, too! Bring along a book that you've been dying to read or listen to music or a podcast and the wait time will fly by!

  10. Reward yourself: Give yourself a big pat on the back for doing all you do for your family. Take a moment to reward yourself-- paint your nails, send a text to your partner or call a friend. Your empty car can be your own little sanctuary!

Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC The Mojo Coach is a Registered Dietitian with a Master's degree in Nutrition Science. She's a Certified Personal Trainer, Whole Health Coach, Lifestyle Expert - just for moms, speaker and author. For 20 years, Debi (The Mojo Coach®) motivated moms to "get their mojo back" through gradual lifestyle change.

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very good ideas Report
Common sense rules the day. Thanks for the good blog. I posted it on my Facebook to share the information. Make it a good day. Report
Never carpooled with my kids. I walked them to school when they were younger, the Jr HS was located around the corner and in HS my daughter took public transport and my son was bused by the school distrist to a HS for his mild disability.
I did carpool when I worked so some of this stuff could apply for that area too. Report
Great idea! Report
These are great ideas for anybody like that. I, however don't have a car. LOL I walk and have grandchildren I play with. Report
I had to laugh at this blog. It's a great blog but I am one of these people with really bad claustrophobia. Even in the winter, I have to drive with every window rolled down and I can only allow my daughters/grandson in my car. Anyone else freaks me out. My social worker wanted me to pick her up for a visit to the social service offices and I refused. Made her take her own car there and meet me. As for carpooling. FORGET IT!!!! I would be on the hood of the car after one minute of travel...lol. Report
These are great ideas however, I haven't had to wait and did not hunger during the drive; as it wasn't that long. Or I'd wait unitl I either got home or work to eat. When there would be a wait; I'd take my workout clothes and make good use of that time, thanx for the ideas! Report
I agree with 15 and 17, I thought the article was going to be about car pooling rather than waiting in the car. Report
My apologies to 'Mayber'- I truly didn't mean it as a put down. I'm sorry if anyone took it that way. It really is a great article for ANYONE who spends a lot of time waiting, etc. My husband has many health issues, too, and I can't even begin to count the hours we've spent going to places up to 10 hours away for testing, etc., not to mention time waiting during appointments. I'll definitely be putting some of these ideas to good use, as we live in the middle of nowhere and using that as an excuse to grab fast food in town while running errands because 'home is too far' is a thing of the past for me! :-)

(((hugs to you and your husband))) Report
LOL, carpooling is a way to get to work. This is "Mom's Taxi". Report
These are great tips - for when you aren't actually driving. Please remember to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel when the car is in motion. Report
I also had a different idea of carpooling. Report
These are just great ideas for soccer moms, but for any of us who spend time in the car whether doing a list of errands, taking elderly parents to medical or other appointments or even for longer car trips. I have always has water, but I like to idea of some healthy snack food, because face it, the Quik shops don't have health in mind. Report
I'm confused, this is carpooling? I have a different vision for carpooling. People sharing one vehicle to drive to work or conferences or other such related things. This isn't carpooling, its driving children to different events. Why wasn't it better titled as I would have skipped it. I am not interested in reading yet another article focused on parents and children. There are other populations in SP, I hope one day the rest of us will be recgonzied too. Report
I don't go anywhere without a book. In line at banks, Dr. office waits, or a transportation breakdown! Flat tires are not nearly as traumatic.( And yes, I can change my own if I have to.) Report
ALWAYS pack healthy snacks to take with me.
Love nuts like walnuts & almonds~also love my apples!
I take water always with me. Report
Some great ideas. I always have a water bottle with me for sure. Report
What great ideas and hopefully many of them will get used
Like reading all the comments
Only dislike when someone put someone elses comment down like 1 and 2
If you cannot say something nice remain silent Report
...or just don't have kids in the first place! Report
I went to her website and signed up to get some more support and information...to get MY mojo back! Report
I carry a "hurry up and wait" bag. In my bag is a book, booklight with extra batteries should it get dark, notebook and pen, manicure kit, mending or cross stitch project, or anything thing else that may need done. It's amazing how much stuff I can get done while waiting at the doctor's office, ball field, etc. Report
I thought this blog was going to be about commuting to work, blah! Hate it. I have done it for the past three years and have not been able to overcome the stress but it will all end after June 1st for I shall not have to commute after that time. Report
Good suggestions/reminders! Thanks. Report
I was thinner when my kids were little and didn't exercise, but the walking group of parents sounds like a great idea! And I do agree with the SP who said not to overschedule---even 1 activity for each of my 3 children meant ball games and gymnastics at least 3 times a week. Many of today's children have activities every day. Water and healthy snacks are good to have around for them and the parents! Report
I love the idea of my car being my own little sanctuary!! And instead of a magazine or self help book, I think I will indulge in a wonderful storybook of some kind! :0) Report
I spent more hours than I want to remember sitting in the parents room, watching my daughter practice gymnastics. Finally I realized that while the girls were getting great exercise, the parents were becoming blobs, and I organized a walking group for that 60 minutes. Yes, you do want to watch your child practice and participate in a sport, but just sitting there for hours doesn't help your own health. Report
M'Dear, even if you don't overschedule them (as in maybe each child only has one extracurricular activity) you may still wind up spending much of your time in the "Mom's Taxi" route. Having a plan to make the most of that time is great and you may notice that playing with your other children while the one whose scheduled activity you're at is EXACTLY what is suggested. Report

Don't overschedule the kids so much and spend more time playing with them! :-) Report
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