There are a few things in my life that I try to avoid at all costs. One of them is filling up my car at the petrol station while all four of my kids are with me. Why? It’s dramatic.
Each week when the time rolls around, I start rationalising the need to just not refuel. Do I need to drive? Can I fit four kids and my groceries on a bike? Maybe we will just never leave the house again? Alas, I am a modern-day woman with a tribe of kids, and am far too tired to try circus tricks on a bicycle, while I’m already juggling life as it is.
I’m sure you can agree that as a parent, putting fuel in the car becomes a lot harder and more stressful than it used to be. Do I have the time (or energy) to attempt to get four kids out? Trying to dodge between other cars and their people, making sure little J doesn’t run out in front of one and praying that little S doesn’t decide now is the time to put on one of ever so popular performances of “The Toddler Tantrum” starring herself, with back-up from at least two of my other kids.
So, I start to question is it worth it? Then the ever-going debate in my head (and mum groups) Do I leave them in the car or get them out, what is safer?
For any other parents who can relate to this, these are my three tips for curbing tantrums at the bowser:
1. Games, all the games.
Nine times out of 10, you will find that if you can keep them busy, they probably won’t have enough time to think about how they can drive you up the wall (or car door in this case). When they start to get restless or their energy is at an all-time high...distract them!
The trick to this is to keep it simple, fun and easy. Make up a game for them to play – here are some suggestions:
The Colour Game – Ask the kids to each spot something of a certain colour, then change colours once everyone has found one.
The Animal Game – Go in a clockwise motion (or whatever order you like) with everyone saying an animal starting with each letter of the alphabet - the first kid says one start with A, the next kid says one starting with B and so on.
I Spy – It's an oldie but a goodie. Take turns guessing what someone else has spotted “I spy my little eye, something beginning with T”. Tree is usually the answer, in the instance of a four-year-old and the letter “te”.
Spotto – My kids' favourite game is spotting yellow cars and yelling out "Spotto".
2. Use technology to fast-track the drama.
Thankfully for us, we are now living in a day and age where life is made a lot easier thanks to technology, and everything we need is basically at our fingertips.
I recently discovered that I can use the BPme app to pay for my fuel, without leaving the comfort of my car or having to drag all four kids out, kicking and screaming (them or me, you decide?!) to go in store to pay.
It's the first Aussie mobile app that lets you do this from your car, safely and securely by your phone (it even emails you a receipt). I wish I had known about this six months ago for that time I refuelled my car only to realise when I went to pay that I left my wallet at home... Can I blame sleep-deprived mum life? So, anything that is card or cashless is a winner in my eyes.
So how does it work? Like this: You register your details when you first download the app. Then you find your closest BP petrol station using the locator in the app (look for one with the mobile phone icon).
When I use it, I pull up to the pump and turn the app on first. No tantrums yet. Then it’s a matter of simply selecting the pump number and my payment method. Still no tantrums. I leave my phone in the car while I fill up, then jump back in the front seat and voila! All tantrums averted and I'm done.
It’s fast and convenient – I’m done within a matter of minutes and off we go to the next thing, I’m more than likely no longer running late. To download, visit BP's website.
3. And finally…some food for thought.
I keep a snack box in the car for when kids start complaining. I guarantee as soon as you get into a car, a kid will say they are hungry. It's basically the rules of kid logic. It’s the same as when you asked them to go to the toilet before they get in the car, but they still declare their undying need to pee shortly after getting in.
Having a box full of snacks saves you having to endures the kicking, screaming, crying and declarations of starvation.. no more tantrums over “getting something” when you pull up to put the fuel in your car.
There’s no excuses, when there’s free food just there. This will save you time, money, and a little of that everyday stress.
Kids and cars: How do you avoid a trip to Tantrum Town? Tell us your tips.
This content was created with thanks to our brand partner BP.