Large Family Transportation: 4 Moms

moms of many manageWelcome another week of 4 Moms, 35 Kids: How Moms of Many Manage.  This week we’re talking about tips for transporting our large families.

Our family of 12 drives a 12 passenger van. Although it gets tricky when we are trying to get camping equipment, clothes and accoutrements for 12 people and all the food we’re going to eat fir a week into the van with every seat occupied by a person we appreciate spending less on gas than we would if we drove a 15 passenger van and most of the time we have no problem with lack of space.

Tips for transporting a large family.

Pay cash for your vehicle – It’s possible and it’s prudent and we’ve never regretted driving an older, paid-for vehicle. We’ve always purchased used vehicles and have driven them until our family outgrew them or they were ready to be “put down”.

Plan your seating – Consider your children, their capabilities and personalities.  We have considered who may need help during our time in the car and have planned to have a helper near enough to be of service.

Nick (2) Kaitlin (11) Savannah (5) and Sadie (7) ready to go Christmas caroling

Having a large family provides many opportunities for children to consider one another as more important than themselves (Phil. 2:3-4), so while one could purposely place two rough personalities far away from each other and achieve immediate peace,  we generally choose to place them beside each other. This furthers our goal of training our children to be more like Christ and provides more opportunity for those rough edges to be rubbed off  (Prov. 27:17).

The beautiful thing that we’ve seen happen is that both children have their weaknesses and relationship strengthened. They learn to play and interact with each other and often they ask to sit next to each other when it comes time to rearrange seating.

Ban electronics from the car

Surprised?  I don’t mean completely, I just mean those electronic devices that separate people who are sitting right beside each other. (iPods, hand-held games, DVD players, etc.)

Whether we’re traveling long distances or simply running errands our children read books, draw, play games (Battleship, Sorry, Mastermind, etc.), tell stories and generally enjoy each other. In my opinion that’s much better than a silent drive any day (well, almost any day 🙂 ).

How do you transport your large family? What tips do you have?

You may be interested in tips for feeding a large family while traveling or our 1,800 mile trip (I can’t believe how much the kids have changed).

Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to find out how they transport their large families:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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12 Responses to Large Family Transportation: 4 Moms
  1. Tristan
    November 17, 2011 | 7:06 am

    We use a 12 passeger van as well. When we were pregnant with baby #6 we were praying over moving from our minivan to something like a suburban (9 seats) or a full size van (12-15 seats). God sent us a 12 passenger van, and as always, he knew what he was doing. Three months after baby #6 was born we got pregnant with baby #7. That little man is due to be born in early January and we’re ever so glad!

    We listen to audio CDs in the van together such as audiobooks (Chronicles of Narnia is fun), or the educational music and story cds by Maestro Classics, or we sing together. It’s rare to have a quiet trip in the car, but we’re all together and it’s worth it.

    Another tip – keep an old ice cream bucket with lid under any row with a carsick-prone child. They’ve got a place to lose their lunch and a lid to contain the smell when they’re done.

    Last tip – Assign buddies. We have specific children paired up to help younger siblings into and out of the carseats, into and out of stores, etc. Typically the oldest gets the youngest toddler, the next oldest gets the next youngest toddler, and so on. Mom gets the baby.


    Jama Reply:

    LOVE the ice cream bucket idea. I have one prone to car sickness and one who doesn’t seem to realize the driver needs more than 5 seconds of lead time. (This is the only child to have thrown up in our van…twice!)Guess we will be eating some extra ice cream soon. 🙂


  2. Sam @ Sam's Noggin
    November 17, 2011 | 9:21 am

    I would love a reason to move to a passenger van (baby)! Right now we have a Traverse, and would love to be free of the payments. We live and learn I guess. We love Mastermind as well.


  3. Desiree
    November 17, 2011 | 9:22 am

    We recently bought a 9-passenger Tahoe; we really like it. 🙂 Hardly any cargo space, but it’s worse the trade off to us to drive the smallest thing we can, for now-:)


  4. Holli
    November 17, 2011 | 10:11 am

    With 3 biological children (& hoping for more!) and planning for 3-4 foster children, we upgraded from our 5-passenger Elantra (that my husband drives to work) to a 12-passenger van last year. We also debated about the cargo space available, but God provided an amazing deal with the 12-passenger, so we proceeded. This summer we packed 4 adults, 3 teens, 2 preschoolers and 2 babies & all of our stuff for a week at the beach (complete with pack ‘n’ play, coolers, a large stroller, and boogie boards!)into our van. If you are creative, it can definitely be done!


  5. Sarah
    November 17, 2011 | 11:52 am

    We have a slightly unusual solution. There are 8 of us-2 parents, 5 children and one grandparent and we live in the UK where petrol (gas) is expensive. I’ve worked out about $7.11 per gallon on today’s prices.
    The best solution for us is to have a small 7 seater people carrier (Zafira) and a small 5 seater (Micra). This means that if fewer people go out we can use a smaller car although for church and holidays we have to drive two cars. Although we pay two lots of insurance this is generally cheaper.
    Probably not a good option if you do a lot of travelling when two drivers are needed but a solution that works for us.


    Sarah Reply:

    Sorry I wasn’t clear. I meant the insurance for two cars is cheaper than for a van here.


    Alice Reply:

    Sarah, we are also in the UK and have 5 children and another on the way. Van insurance (and fuel!) is definitely expensive! We were in a Citroen C8 mini van until our last baby was born, and now we drive a Renault Trafic 9-seater van. We can fit another child in it, but beyond that we will have to look for a 12 or 15 seater. The cost of insurance and fuel concerns us, but we want to travel as a unit in the same vehicle.


  6. Dawn@OneFaithfulMom
    November 17, 2011 | 7:08 pm

    And I thought we were the only ones without a DVD player in our car!! We have listened to SO many books on tape!! We live about 40 minutes out of town in a rural area, so we do a LOT of traveling.Books on tape are our favorites.
    And during this time of year, we have memorized tons of Christmas songs/carols/hymns. We start with the Christmas music in the car around Oct 1st, so we have time to learn some new things.
    We are a family of 10, counting the younger 8 of our 10 children who still live at home, and we drive a Ford Excursion. I put 298,000 miles on our first one. This past April, my wonderful hubby found us a new/used one. It was a 2004 with only 26,000 miles. The back and middle seats had never even been used! Must have been used to tow a boat/camper.
    It is practically brand new, and I am excited to have a brand new start. I love that it drives like a car. We have 9 seats and that works for us, because my hubby has to go in to church early for choir. : )
    Sorry to write a book…this is something I get asked about all the time, with having such a large family!!Everybody seems to want to know what we drive!!
    Oh, the Excursion also has tons of cargo room for all the groceries it takes to feed this family! LOL!!


  7. Cindy
    November 18, 2011 | 1:24 pm

    Our family of 9 drives a 12 passenger van that has the capabilities of removing half of the back seat to give us more cargo room when we go away as a family. Our kids are in school now and I pick up four extra kids and so through the week we leave in all our seats, which makes it tricky for grocery shopping, etc…When travelling to school and back we listen to jonathan, love, love it! And when we travel as a family, we allow our kids to bring their mp3s and little game boy or leapsters for quietness..we always plan our trips during naptimes so that the little ones sleep and the devices keep it quiet for a little while. It is great visiting time for my husband and I as well. But we have no DVD player in the van and have no plans to put one in, unless it comes with the vehicle. Most of our kids get carsick very easily, so the gameboys and leapsters are only played for a short time anyways. A lot of the time they also all bring their pillows, stuffy friends and play with those with the person beside them…we love them to interact with one another, but on a long trip they all need some space too! Then you know it is time to make a stop for distraction! 🙂


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    We definitely make use of nap time when traveling long distances. The older kids read while the little ones sleep and Mark and I enjoy quiet conversation. 😉


  8. Blessed Beyond a doubt
    November 18, 2011 | 5:05 pm

    We are a family of 8 and we are maxed out in our suburban.

    We have a little trash can in ours!

    Following you now! (:


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