As more working parents return to the office in person, many are facing the prospect of a new addition to their morning juggle: commuting with kids. Whether your daycare or school is a walk, subway rider or car trip away, the logistics of commuting with kids can be daunting, especially when you’ve got to get yourself into an office looking presentable (read: not a hot mess) immediately after dropoff.
When it comes to commuting with kids, a little planning can go a long way. So we asked our Vivvi team parents—many of whom hit the roads (and tunnels, tracks and waterways!) with their little ones on their way to work—for their best tips for commuting with kids. Happy travels!
1. Keep them busy
Our favorite game to play together on the subway to pass the time is I Spy, using the different advertisements to spot pictures, numbers and letters! —Athena Papanicolaou, VP of Client Success, commutes by subway
2. Pack light
I live by my chest carrier to avoid elevators. I love walking a few subway stops if I have extra time to enjoy and talk about the sites. —Ben Newton, Co-founder and COO, commutes by subway
3. Plan ahead
I would recommend messaging the Uber driver before getting in the car and saying “Hi, I’ve got a baby and an infant car seat with me. It takes about 30 seconds to install and will have no impact on your seat after it’s removed.” —Julia Steele, Senior Director of Marketing, commutes by Uber
4. Make a “commuting kit”
I made each of my kids a car kit. They would choose two snacks, and then I’d include some things to keep them busy like scratch art kits and water activity pads. I also play kid-friendly podcasts and use the audiobooks apps like Epic or Pinna. —Rachel Duda, VP of Learning, commutes by car
5. Look at photos
My daughter and I use our short 5-7 minute ride on the ferry viewing Brightwheel pictures from the day before and at the end of the day talking about her day at school. I like to keep a snack, water, and wipes in my bag at all times. She always loves a treat after school, so that is definitely a must have! —Lillian Campbell, Teacher at World Trade Center, commutes by ferry
6. Allow them to take part in the commute-route planning
Do you have an option to choose which subway to take! Can you have them help hail a taxi! Can you pick the driving route with them? (This is particularly helpful when you have a child who loves transportation!) When possible, I try to block off more of the mornings where I am doing the kid commute, to mitigate the stress of running from drop off to a morning meeting. —Gretchen Richer, Director of Family Experience, commutes by train
7. Use it as an opportunity to bond with your kids
My daughter Grace and I do positive affirmations every morning on our commute, and she shares stories from her day on our commute home. We also play games like “I Spy” which can help develop language and social skills. —Charlie Bonello, Co-founder and CEO, commutes by car
8. Have baby favorite playlist teed up
I created one specifically for my daughter on Spotify and whenever she likes songs, I add them. Her current favorite is “La Bamba” and the entire “Sing 2” soundtrack. —Lauren Perrotta, VP of Sales, commutes by car
9. Don’t forget a snack!
Extra points for small things that can be slowly doled out to pass the time, like cheerios or string cheese. —Lauren Hobbs, Chief Marketing Officer, commutes by subway