Carpooling with Kids: The Trust Factor
There are several considerations to be made when setting up carpools for your kids. First you should make sure that you carpooling is necessary. If kids can safely walk or ride bikes to school (the distance isn’t far, there are no busy intersections, and your kids are old enough) or if there is a bus stop nearby, you might not need to drive them at all the majority of the time, making a carpool situation unnecessary. But if you find that you are spending valuable time each day dropping kids off and picking them up (when you could be focusing on work or getting other things done) you might want to get involved in a carpool. You’ll need to find families to carpool with that are in your area, have children that attend the same schools, and are looking for a way to cut down on their driving. But you probably also want to choose parents that you know and trust with the safety of your children, which may not be quite so easy to arrange. Here are just a few ways to do it.
First of all, you should approach your own friends that have children at the same schools as yours. If you have known them for a while then there is a built-in incentive for both parties; each of you know that the bonds of friendship will ensure that you are just as careful with each other’s kids as you are with your own. Nobody wants the responsibility of telling another parent that their child has been harmed, but it would be even worse if it was your friend’s child. In short, there is an added amount of social pressure to practice safe driving techniques when the risk is not only to the children, but also to interpersonal relationships.
However, it may not be entirely feasible to populate your carpool with the children of your own friends (they might live far away, have children of different ages, and so on). In this case, your next option is to approach the parents of your children’s friends. Likely these people are all in the same district, meaning that they are at the same school and probably located nearby. If you have interacted with these people often on behalf of your child, then you probably have a decent estimation of which parents are responsible and trustworthy.
Of course, you might also want to opt for neighbors. The advantage here is that even if you don’t know them well, they have to live near you, meaning they can’t escape your ire should something befall your children while in their care. Plus, there is a certain amount of convenience that can’t be overlooked in this situation. And you have every opportunity to get to know these people better since they live so close. Invite the families to a BBQ so that all the kids and parents can get to know each other a little better (and hopefully become comfortable enough to form a carpool).
While you can never entirely trust another parent to look out for the safety of your child the way you would, the fact that you are trading off on this duty should be enough to make everyone act in the best interests of all the children. But if you can arrange a carpool only with families that you know and trust, so much the better.
Jennifer Kardish writes for Connecticut Party Bus Rental where you can find the perfect vehicle for your travel needs.
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