10 Ways to Keep Kids Quiet in Cars and on the Plane


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Offer a Preemptive Bribe
Bribes sometimes work -- as long as they're rewarding the effort put toward good behavior.
Bribes sometimes work -- as long as they're rewarding the effort put toward good behavior.
Photo courtesy of TSA.gov

In the parenting world, bribery is a controversial child-control method. Some use it liberally, others not all. Certainly, offering rewards can be tricky, but bribery in and of itself is not a problem. It's mostly about timing.

And if ever there were a time to practice appropriate bribery, it's the road or air trip, when kids have an extra-hard time behaving the way you want them to.

The trick is to offer the bribe before any bad behavior starts. Rather than "if you stop screaming, we'll get ice cream as soon as we land," or "if you stop calling your sister names we'll pull over at the World's Largest Gerbil attraction," try setting up the agreement before you even board the plane or get in the car.

Offer the monster gerbil if your son sits quietly until the first rest stop, or if your daughter uses her inside voice the whole time in the plane. That way, you're rewarding the effort put toward good behavior rather than rewarding the cessation of bad behavior.

Up next: A sleeping child is a quiet child…

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