Taking Your Kid on the Road

taking-your-kid-on-the-road

Many truck drivers bring a spouse with them on the road and it can be effective in fighting loneliness during long hours behind the wheel and it can also help them stay connected as a couple. Having a spouse with a CDL is an added bonus because he or she can take on some of the driving.  But what about children? Should a child be taken on the road? 

First, if you drive for a carrier, you obviously must abide by their policies and requirements. Some carriers won’t allow extra riders due to insurance restrictions.  Others will but may require you to sign a waiver that states that the company is not legally responsible for the child. If you own your truck, you have your own insurance policy and should make sure that your passengers will be covered by insurance if anything should occur on the road requiring medical help. 

Safety 

If your child is going to accompany you on the road, you must ensure their safety at all times.  The safest place for your child is in the passenger seat of the truck restrained with a seat belt, car seat, or booster seat depending on the age of the child.  Tractor trailer trucks usually don’t have an air bag on the passenger’s side so even a rear-facing seat shouldn’t be a problem but you should make sure before strapping your child in.  There are also safety harnesses that attach to the bunk so your child can be on the bunk without the danger of falling off. 

A child is great company and the time together will allow you to bond with them but will it be a distraction while you’re driving?  Remember, safety is most important for you, your child, and everyone else on the road. 

Truck stops can be dangerous places for children and they need to be watched closely in the busy parking lots and in the stranger-filled truck stop itself.  They should never play or run in a truck stop parking lot or be left alone.

Education 

If you’re planning to take your child on the road, how will your kiddos get an education? There are online class options for homeschooling but you’ll need to have a reliable wifi connection to do so. 

Another consideration for your child’s education is how his or her social needs will be met. Much of the education we get in school has nothing to do with the curriculum but rather what we learn from interacting with the other children. Empathy, coping skills, and how to compromise and reason are just a few of the things we learn from peer interactions.  Of course, seeing the country provides its own unique education too.

Vacations or summertime can be the optimum time to bring your kid on the road because you don’t have to worry about their schooling. 

Exercise

Everyone needs to exercise but it’s essential for young, developing bodies and you need to make time every day for your child to do more than just stretch their legs. Stop at parks and playgrounds. Get a gym membership.  The YMCA and most national gym chains allow you to work out at any of their locations nationwide. 

Routine 

While life on the road is an adventure, children need some kind of routine.  Education time, mealtimes, and bedtimes may be difficult to fit into your schedule but it’s best for your child’s development. 

Regular meal times should include healthy foods. It’s not always easy to find healthy options on the road so be sure to keep your truck stocked with healthy foods from the grocery store. Entertainment 

Let’s face it, long hours on the highway are boring, especially if you’re a kid. Make sure there are plenty of things to keep them occupied like puzzle books, a tablet, a smartphone, books, and drawing pads. There are lots of ideas on the internet of games you can play on the road like road sign bingo that are fun and can help you pass the time too. 

Considerations 

Life on the road can be dangerous. Aside from busy truck stops, there are the inherent dangers of driving on the road all day or night.  There are accidents―not just the possibility of being in one yourself but also of witnessing one or seeing the aftermath of one. These things can be traumatic for a child. Think about the things you’ve seen or experienced before you consider bringing your child along. 

Ask yourself whether or not this is what your child wants.  If being stuck in a truck all day is going to make your child miserable, it’s not going to be a good experience for either of you. 

Look at your schedule. Will there be time for extra stops and for you to be able to give your child enough attention? 

When you bring your child on the road you’re not a babysitter you’re the caretaker. You must give your child everything he or she needs to thrive. If all the right precautions are made, taking your child on the road can be a bonding experience where you can make memories that last a lifetime. 

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