Be the coolest mom in the carpool lane

A Mom’s Life Top Five

Start your engines! Soon you’ll join the other moms in the single-file, school-front showdown known as the carpool lane.

Here are five ways to kick your carpoolin’ into high gear.

1. The Carpool Survival Kit. Fill a large waterproof makeup bag with essential carpool goodies. Think wet wipes and hand sanitizer, extra shoelaces for soccer practice, mini-portable garbage bags, a first aid kit, a few matchbox cars or small toys for the littler siblings in waiting and some tissues.

2. Get yourself noticed. To help your kids recognize your mini-van or SUV from the long line of look-alikes, attach a neon-colored electrical tape flag to the top of your antenna. If your antenna is retractable, hang a funky Christmas ornament from the rear-view mirror. Just make sure you can still see.

3. Stock-up on portable provisions. Don’t get stuck in the drive-thru looking for a quick after-school snack. Instead, use the compartment between the front seats to store healthy, non-perishable treats like dried fruit, nuts, granola bars and raisins. Good for the kids and good for you, too.

4. The back-seat busy box. Fill a clear plastic bin with stuff for your kids to do while in transit. For younger kids, load it with books, colored pencils, paper and fun pads. For older kids include homework supplies like mini staplers, calculators, tape, extra folders and note pads.

5. Skip the whole thing altogether. If you live within walking distance from school, invest in a good pair of walking shoes. Meet your kids at the school and walk home together. Or park several blocks away and enjoy an after-school stroll. If you must be in the carpool lane, turn off your engine while you wait.

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