Did you know that nearly two-thirds of Australian parents spend up to a full work day (eight hours) every week in the car doing ‘taxi duty’ for the kids.

New research from Allianz Australia has revealed that we’re a nation of parent taxi drivers, with one in ten parents spending nine or more hours a week picking up and dropping off.

It’s not that hard to believe when you count up all the time you’re ferrying the kids to and from school, sports, extra-murals, play dates and more.

The Taxi Hours Add Up

“It’s amazing how quickly the ‘parent taxi’ hours can add up and become a big challenge for mums and dads as they try to balance family life with work and other priorities – and, of course, traffic,” said Allianz Australia Chief Market Manager Nick Adams.

No Such Thing As A Lazy Weekend

And there’s certainly no break on the weekends, with many parents actually doing more taxi-time. Nearly half (44%) of parents report spending up to three hours driving their kids around every Saturday, and more than a third (36%) report the same on a Sunday.*

So what can we do about mums’ and dads’ taxi service? Well, only 35% of Aussie parents are actually carpooling* so of course we could try and share lifts to reduce the taxi load.

But if you’re going to be stuck in the car with the kids, at least make it a productive time.

We’ve put together some useful tips on how you can make the most of your parent taxi time:

Have A Tricky Talk To The Kids

Need to tackle a thorny topic with the kids? Leave it for the car. A drive is actually one of the best places to have a tough conversation with a kid, especially if you’re navigating through the teen years. Why? Well, there are fewer distractions around and kids can’t really escape. There is less eye-contact bringing down the intensity of the conversation. Plus you’ve got limited time so you need to get the point quickly. According to family psychologist, Dr Fred Peipman “You are out and about in the world and at the same time a bit isolated, so people can be somewhat disinhibited,” Peipman says. “People say things in a car that they’d never say to someone on the street because there is a perceived separation. For a parent-child discussion dynamic, it’s great.”

Try and keep the conversation relaxed. Start with a casual topic and then move onto the more serious stuff. End off with a joke or switch to a lighter topic. And remember to listen!

Play Favourites

In a world of iPads and smart phones, it’s easy to just shove a device in your children’s hand to keep them quiet. Put down the phone and switch off the music and talk. One trick to try is to ask your child to share their most and least favourite part of the day. This often gets the kids chatting away. Also, offer to share your favourite and least favourite part of the day.

Quiz Them

You’ve got a captive audience in the car so driving time is a great way to quiz your kids on their general knowledge, spelling, numbers and homework. Offer them an incentive for every question they get right. Turn the tables and get them to ask you a question too, for a bit of fun.

Carpool Karaoke

Do your own version of carpool karaoke. Each person in the car has a chance to pick a song. Then turn up the volume and everyone has to sing their heart out. So much fun!

Play Neverending Story

This is a brilliantly fun game to play in the car and keeps the kids amused for ages. One person starts a story and after a minute or so, the next person continues the story and this continues until the game loses its momentum or you’ve reached your destination. It’s hilarious to see what twists the tale takes.

Focus On The Kids

With all the driving we’re doing, it’s a relief to know that we can focus on the kids and our driving while Allianz takes care of the rest.

“A busy ‘parent taxi’ schedule is stressful enough, which is why Allianz’s thing is helping parents to focus on driving with the peace of mind that they’re insured in the event of an accident so they can get back to making that dance recital or school pick-up as soon as possible,” adds Adams.

For more information on Allianz car insurance, visit https://www.allianz.com.au/car-insurance/.

These top tips are bought to you by Allianz Car Insurance.

*Disclaimer:
Allianz Car Insurance is issued by Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. We do not provide advice based on any consideration of your objectives, financial situation or needs. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Before making a decision please consider the product disclosure statement available here.

 


  • Some great ideas in there I’m going to have to try!

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  • My son’s favourite thing to do in the car is to have the big talks. We sometimes just drive around aimlessly for that reason. And we both love music. He’s a budding DJ so it’s always good to play some tunes.

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  • That’s why the closer the things are, the better. And even better when we can walk!

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  • Love some of these ideas. My girls love making up their own songs and my boys just talk about anything :)

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  • What an excellent idea. I normally dont know what to do with my son but this is great when we go for a drive

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  • We love car karaoke!

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  • We love car time – we never squander time.

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  • I love our car time, it’s a time for chats about all sorts of things or if that loses interest we play games. Some great tips here.

    Reply


  • Good tips.
    However when I have a really tricky conversation in the car, I prefer to park for a moment on the side of the road, to prefend accidents. I found it hard to focus on the road and have a tricky conversation, with full attention for my child, at the same time (especially when it becomes emotional).

    Reply


  • The car is like a cone of silence. Always a great place for a private chat.

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  • Some great ideas for when my boys are older!

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  • My 4 year old and I love playing eye spy, guessing animal game and karaoke. It makes the trips in the morning and afternoon fun!

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  • I love chatting in the car with boys, they usual tell me about something excited that they did at school and tell them some excited I might have found or done during the day….they not a fan of my singing or dancing in the car.

    Reply

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