Curing the Car Ride Blues – Try This Fun Parenting Tip

by Emily Thomas

Hi, it’s Emily, a member of the 5 Minutes for Mom social media training program. I want to tell you how I made my car a pleasant place to be.

Do your kids make too much noise in the car? Mine do! Do you want to know how I cured our family car ride blues?

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I have diagnosed myself with sensory issues.  I’m a nurse so I like to think I’ve learned all I need to know to diagnose.  Oh, and I can search WebMD on my phone.  That helps make me an expert.  For me, sounds can sometimes cause actual pain.  I have a toddler and a preschooler and, friend, they can make some SOUNDS!

In the car, where we’re buckled in and noise is trapped, it can cause me to want to remove my ears from the sides of my head.  I think I would do it if I thought it would help.  On a recent trip that included deafening decibels, it became abundantly clear I needed to find a cure for the daily car ride blues.

Some solutions I have brainstormed:

  • Noise reducing headphones.  I would like to be able to hear other drivers and sirens if needed, so that’s right out. Not that I can usually hear anything over the screaming but there is a slim chance I could if both children took a breath at the same time.
  • Another solution would be to leave the children at home while I do my daily errands.  The only reason I don’t is that I’m a people-pleaser.  “Society” and “conventional wisdom” don’t think it’s a good idea for a kindergartner to be left in charge of a toddler while I go to Costco in peace.  So I take them with me every-cotton-picking-place I go.  So calm down, Society.

My solution: 

  • Music. I have found music in the car helps everyone calm down.

    Unfortunately, since there is more than one song in existence, there was also the constant conversation about whose turn it was to listen to their music.  I simply couldn’t keep track.  And it was an annoying conversation to have.

Putting It All Together:

So I set out to find a solution to the problem of music (which had actually been my solution to the problem of screaming)… This is getting a little involved.

Thankfully, every once in a while I have a parenting idea that works…

I sat down with the kids (and some snacks because it makes them quieter) and we worked on a playlist for the car.

It included all of their favorite songs and mine as well.

We became excited about our choices.

Then we worked out the rules.
Together. This always helps them buy into said rules.

  • The music is always AND ONLY on shuffle.  That way, I’m not the bad guy, the iphone is.

  • If you complain about my song, the next one of yours is skipped.  If you complain about that, the next one of yours is skipped.  Repeat to infinity.  While I happily listen to my music.

  • A song can be replayed one time.  If you love it, you get to hear it again.  The rest of the passengers who don’t love it are not subjected to it more than twice in one sitting.  It’s the humane thing to do.

  • Parents hold to the same rules.  In parenting, modeling reigns supreme.  I actually enjoy teaching them how to embrace (or endure as the case may be) other people’s turns and preferences.  I make sure to get just as excited about Old Macdonald and the Eensy Weensy Spider as they do.  I turn it up a little louder and sing along.  Sometimes I even repeat their favorites without them asking.   Because I’m all heart, people.

And you know what?  They occasionally request a repeat playing of Jack Johnson, James Taylor, and Louis Armstrong.

Everybody wins.  Bring on the (reasonably long) road trips!

Tweet ThisClick Here to Tweet —–> Noisy kids in cars are no fun for moms! Try Emily’s simple, brilliant solution.


Written by Emily Thomas – Believer. Writer. Encourager. Humorist. Emily writes about what happened today and what she learned from it at

Email Author    |    Website About Emily Thomas

Before kids she was a teacher, nurse, and world traveler. Now she mostly travels around her house picking up toys. Emily employs humor and candor to share survival tips, encouragement, and her personal motherhood misadventures in an effort to build up worn-down moms everywhere.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anna October 17, 2013 at 8:51 am

Music is a must in our car too!! And an ipad. But sometimes the ipads make the kids argue more ….thus they are loud more…so sometimes that doesn’t work well. Anyway, I am in charge of the radio if I am driving..that’s the rule. I am in charge of the radio is I’m in the passenger seat too..that’s also the rule. I am the PRO shuffler. :)


2 Emily Thomas October 24, 2013 at 2:34 pm

I can see how adding an ipad could increase the noise. I like your idea about being in charge of the radio regardless of where you’re sitting! ;)


3 Andrea October 17, 2013 at 12:12 pm

You’re a lot nicer than I am! My boys have their own iPods and headphones which keeps them quiet and then I don’t have to hear their Minecraft songs over and over. Ha!


4 Emily Thomas October 24, 2013 at 2:36 pm

Minecraft songs do not sound fun to hear over and over. That might be a good plan, Andrea!


5 Sarah S. October 17, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Man, where were you when mine were littles? We had some sweet little songs that helped my kids learn scripture and life skills, but after 27 times of any of them, not only did I feel as if my brain were dripping out of my ears, I so wanted my brain to drip out of my ears to prevent me from hearing one. more. note of that song. Awesome rules — and you totally rock to introduce your kids to James Taylor, etc.


6 Emily Thomas October 24, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Eric has the kids convinced (somehow) that the soundtrack to one of his favorite movies (which is all in French) is THEIR music. They love it. They request it. I am still working on convincing them James Taylor is THEIR music. I don’t have the charm he does or something. :)


7 Ray October 18, 2013 at 4:45 am

I prefer a subtle approach . You know I can reach you from here ! Thanks for this , one big LOL from me and that’s good medicine. Make a joyfull noise : )


8 Emily Thomas October 24, 2013 at 2:40 pm

I do recall hearing that from you during my youth! :) Very subtle indeed.


9 Car For Rent January 5, 2014 at 11:56 pm

Really it make me laugh and by doing like this the dealer will feel ashamed. Great idea to show our angry on dealer


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