Team Carpooling: The Good, The Bad and The Better
The team rosters and schedules come out and your blood pressure goes up. Eyeballing the daunting line-up of practices and games can make even the most experienced team parent sweat. This means it’s a good time to ask for some team carpooling advice.
“the sharing of car journeys so that more than one person travels in a car, and prevents the need for others to have to drive to a location themselves.”
Right off the bat, this involves recruiting other parents to participate. Convincing other parents to join shouldn’t be difficult. Since, carpooling has immediate benefits for all involved.
- Saves on gas money & car wear and tear
- Saves time
- Builds community between team mates and parents
Parent to Parent Communication
Initially, the most important step will be to determine how the carpool will be organized. There are 3 main options:
- Use an App: There are several out there to check out, some much better than others. It’s worth reading the reviews and asking around for input.
- Use a Group Text: These are great for quick updates and emergencies. However, problems can arise if iOS and Android phones are being used. Due to the fact that some parents might not be able to use group text when crossing over to other operating systems.
- Good old Sign-up: Using a spreadsheet or paper requires actually getting people together to hash out a carpool system. Benefits to this might be more sociable, but are often time consuming.
Whichever way you go with, making sure that the lines of communication are open and clear is essential.
On your way
Now that you have a group of parents ready to commit to team carpooling consider these important details.
- Be safe: Set out safety expectations for all members of the car pool, adults and kids:
- No smoking
- Seat belts on
- Cell phone use
- No roughhousing
- Respectful language
- Food and drink use
- Control of music
- Ensure participants know of medical conditions, allergies and emergency contacts
- Consider having medical release forms signed by all families in case there is ever a need for medical treatment
- Be respectful: If schedules or availability changes make sure that no one is left hanging. Don’t allow disrespectful language or behavior in or out of the vehicle. Ensure participants take their mess with them out of the car. Simply put, no one wants to find smelly surprises in the back if the van the day after practice. Additionally, don’t expect drivers to become responsible for lost gear or belongings.
- Be fair: If behavior, mess or scheduling becomes an issue make sure you communicate your problem. Overall, give fair warnings and set expectations for change.
- Do your share: Make sure one parents isn’t taking on more than others. Rather, if one family can’t drive as much, suggest that they chip in for gas or provide approved snacks. Maybe even offer a car cleaning/detailing coupon to the main driver. Alternately, suggest they take on scheduling or planning roles.
In conclusion, setting up a plan for team carpooling takes planning and communication. However, the benefits outweigh the deterrents. With the right people, and a great plan, you and your team can reduce stress and open up schedules. Because, in the end, team life is about the drive and not just the destination.
Let us know what team carpooling strategies have worked for you. Everyone loves a good tip!