12 Things to Buy for a Carpool: A Shopping List for the Busy Mom

We get it!  We have kids too.  Kids in sports, dance, clubs, you name it.  Sure, it's exciting to see them off learning, making friends and exploring new opportunities, but along with the fun and games comes (drum roll) carpooling.

We've done our research and found some tried and True ways to help you "keep your cool in the pool".

Here are the essentials for Carpool Survival 101

1. Water Bottles

Busy kids are always thirsty. Help keep them hydrated with a 24 pack of water bottles in the backseat. Make sure the water bottles are easy-to-reach — you don't want thirsty kids unbuckling mid-ride. I recommend getting the small water bottles because kids never finish the big ones.  If toting the 24 pack around is not feasible, grab an old stand-by.

2. Granola Bars/Sport Bars

You probably know the kids in your carpool that have food allergies, but it's always best to pack something safe just in case. Clif's Coconut Chocolate Chip bars and Kellogg's Nutri-Grain bars always seem to be a big hit and are safe for those with allergies. Always double check with parents if you have any concerns.

3. A First Aid Kit

Keep a small zippered first aid pouch in the car to help you quickly tend to scrapes and cuts. A little NEOSPORIN® helps to stave off any bacteria and a BANDAID® will help keep the dirt out until your little athlete returns home.

4. Instant Cold Packs

Instant cold packs are a must for bumps, bruises, strains and even bug bites. Small cold packs are easy to pack and just the right size for kids. Keep three or four in your first aid stash and replenish when needed.

5. Sunscreen

I prefer a sunscreen stick for kids. Less mess and easier to apply to kids who don't want to stand still while you lather on the lotion. And for kids who like to apply their own, a sunscreen stick is the way to go. I recommend a sensitive skin brand, with no fragrance, and an SPF of 30 or more.

6. Insect Repellent

Mosquitos can be distracting during a practice and a downright nuisance at a game. When the days get shorter and dusk comes earlier, take a minute to spritz the kids with a light application when they get out of the car. Read the bottle to make sure you are comfortable with the ingredients. There are a lot of kid-friendly products to choose from.

7. Blanket

When the weather isn't great, cheering for your kid can get really cold. Be prepared with a blanket you can throw over your shoulders or lay on the grass. My favorite blanket is one that I picked up at a soccer fundraiser. It has fleece on one side and water-repellent on the other. I love how it blocks the wind and moisture, and is comfy to curl up in.

8. Umbrella

If you have room, toss a golf umbrella in your car. You can pack multiple people under it when it's raining or use it for shade when sitting outside at a practice or game. If you have limited space, tuck one or two collapsible ones in the car for when you need coverage from the elements.

9. Kleenex

Boogers. Enough said. Kids have them and you will be grateful you have Kleenex® in your car. I just toss a box in the back seat and replace it when needed.

10. Napkins

Grab a few extra the next time you get a coffee and stick them in your glovebox. Paper towels are also perfect for the little and big — spills that happen every day.

11. Travel Chair

Don't forget to bring a place to rest your weary body outside of the car. A travel chair is perfect for those summer evenings when you want to soak up every moment outside. #lifesaver

12. Phone Charger

There's nothing worse than realizing your phone is about to die when you're waiting on a check-in text from one kid and need to schedule an orthodontist appointment for another. I keep an extra plug and portable power bank in the car so I can use a wall outlet and not be confined to my vehicle.

These 12 items will make you the most prepared parent in the carpool. While you won't need everything every day, you will be so grateful to have them on hand when you do.