Whether you’re making a quick run to the grocery store or embarking on a month-long road trip, nothing ruins a car ride like a cranky kid. But with these basic—and affordable—car accessories for moms, you can make your next trip easier on everyone.
A side-window sunshade
While you’re in the front seat, cranking up the air conditioning, your child is in the back, waiting for that cold air to reach them. Help reduce the sun’s glare and speed up the cooling process with a side-window sunshade or two for the back seat. Side-window sunshades come in a variety of sizes and styles, so there’s sure to be one that’s right for your young passengers. Prices begin at less than $10 and generally don’t run more than $20.
Able to spend more? Consider tinting your windows.
An insulated water bottle
Failing to drink enough water doesn’t just affect physical well-being, it also affects our moods. Even mild dehydration can cause tiredness and irritability. Yet a half-frozen water bottle doesn’t have much appeal on a chilly winter morning, any more than water halfway to boiling does on a sweltering summer afternoon. An insulated bottle keeps water from heating up or cooling down too fast. Fill one in the morning and put it in the back seat to encourage children to drink more.
On second thought, put one in the front seat, too. Taking care of ourselves is as important as taking care of the kids.
A magnetic doodle board
Most kids love to draw, and giving them a chance to do so is a great way to keep boredom at bay. Yet crayons break, paper tears, and markers inevitably fall under the seat at the exact wrong meltdown-inducing moment.
Magnetic doodle boards don’t tear and many models come with the pen attached. There’s no need to worry about running out of paper since kids can just clear the board when they want to start something new. That means the doodle board will be there for them—and you—even when you’re stuck in an unexpected rush hour traffic jam.
An LCD writing tablet is another option, especially for older kids.
A good book is another way to keep kids from getting bored and restless, yet younger kids can’t read, and some older kids get carsick when they read in the car. An audiobook solves both these problems. Whether you pop a CD in the player or download a few stories to your phone, audiobooks can keep young story-lovers engaged. They can keep you engaged, too.
Just don’t reach for your phone if the story takes an unexpected turn.
A trash bag
Yes, a trash bag.
Kids are great at shoving torn wrappers, half-eaten snacks, disturbingly damp tissues, and other random items at you right when you’re changing lanes or heading for the on-ramp. To help you keep both hands on the wheel, put a trash bag in the back seat so kids can put their unwanted garbage there. There are many varieties of car trash holders for sale, though an ordinary paper bag will do the job, too.
Have you discovered your own must-have car accessories for moms to make their time behind the wheel less stressful? Share them in comments. And if you’re planning a family road trip, check out our tips on how to prepare.