Car Shopping with Kids
Are you in the market for a new family car? If the answer is yes, then this chat about car shopping with kids is perfect for you. DO NOT leave your kids home. Yes, I know I sound crazy but hear me out. Kids should definitely be a part of the process especially if they will be spending a lot of time in the car. And if you happen to have a baby or toddler, it is even more important they come along for the ride because if nothing else, car seats! So how do you stay sane while car shopping with kids?
Prep: If you are heading to the dealership, chances are you have already picked out the car for you. Prep your toddler or older children by sharing the car of choice with them in advance. Look the car up, watch videos and point out any specs kids might love. For my toddler, the hidden glasses compartment is her favorite thing about the car. It could be something as simple as that or some new built in technology or even the tires. Get them ready to see the car in person. You can even play a game of find your favorite feature with them.
Call Ahead: Call the dealership ahead of time and if possible make an appointment with a specific sales person. Let them know you will have your child(ren) with you for the car buying process. This definitely gets the sales person comfortable ahead time because lets face it, kids can be totally random and even a bit wacky in new situations.
Set Boundaries: By all accounts, your child may want to sit in and play with every car in the showroom. This is a no go so set boundaries (a little reward for sticking to the plan never hurt either). If 3 cars is it, then say so and stick to it. Now if it’s a slow day and your sales person is in the game, then it’s ok to give or take here but make sure everyone is game. Kid included. Kid getting cranky, no go.
Car Seats: Yep, take them out of your current car and install them in the car you are considering. For us, a middle seat with tethers is a must! We tested a brand new car recently that didn’t have this. That car was not for us. Make sure your kids are comfortable and secure and have a little wiggle room too. Even the largest cars, may not be that comfortable once car seats are installed. While you’re at it, see how well the trunk fits a stroller. Even if you only use a stroller a few times a year, it will need to fit in the car.
Bring Backup: Only you know your kid so maybe a book, a toy or a busy bag is the perfect backup. And for some kids, grandma is the only way. Whatever you do bring backup and snacks! Lollipops are reserved for tear free swim lessons in our house but on a trip to buy a new car, a lollipop would definitely be on standby.
Leave: If things have gone completely over the edge, leave. Your sales person will hopefully understand (especially if you made an appointment ahead of time and warned them). Set up a followup appointment for when you have a sitter and go buy that car. That’s it. My words of wisdom as a mom who had to buy a new family car with kids in tow.