Assigned Seating: A Force of Order in Car-Related Chaos with Kids
We've had a Ford Econoline 350 for eighteen months now. It's opened up the opportunities for road trips, carpooling, and children piling into the same row in the back and trying to squabble the entire way home.
For the first eighteen months it was every-man-for-himself when it came time to file in and head out. Every now and then I would split up certain pairs of children who were prone to fighting, but it was nothing permanent. But then: Assigned Seating. (Thank you to my friend Jackie for reminding me of this wonderful tool.)
I do call on Assigned Seating as if it were some sort of entity that was imposed upon us. I am so thankful to Assigned Seating for showing up and ending the constant I-get-the-front-seat-no-you-had-it-last-time-it's-my-turn-I-hate-you's of yore. (Don't get me wrong, though: the kids still claim to hate one another with regularity and talk about how I'm a mean mom.)
I would love to be walking down our street as our front door is flung open and six bodies go rushing toward the van in various stages of dress shouting, "Assigned seating! Assigned seating!"
I have been knocked out the assigned-seating groove a few times when I'm going out with only two or three children. They get in the car and sit wherever they want. And I tell myself, "It doesn't matter. It's just a few kids." But I know better now. It DOES matter. It matters very much.
"Mom, she sat up front last time, remember?!"
I'm always flattered that they think I retain all information and experiences flawlessly. But: No, child, I don't recall who sat there last time.
Since I don't want to referee or enter into their mudslinging, I simply appeal to our pal Assigned Seating and endure some groans as people get into their spots and (hopefully) buckle up.