When I was a little kid, I remember riding in the backseat of our family car and drifting off into a deep sleep on the nighttime drive home. There was nothing worse than hearing the garage door open and the keys dangling out of the ignition.
Photo: Chris Tobin (Getty Images)
"Wake up," my mum would say, nudging me to wipe the drool that had rolled down the seatbelt and peel my listless body out of the vehicle. I'd whimper throughout the multi-step process of zombie-walking into the house to take off my shoes, brush my teeth, wash my face, put on my pyjamas, and at last collapse onto my bed, at which point I'd usually be wide awake.
Now as a parent, I am sparing my own child the same fate by keeping a kids' toothbrush and pair of pyjamas in my car for all those times we're out late.
If you have a toddler, getting the kid ready for bed before you hit the road makes for a seamless process - if he falls asleep on the drive home, you can usually transfer him from the car to his bed without him noticing.
Even if your kids are older, the bit of prep still helps. Our family often has dinner at friends' houses and right before it's time to go, all the preschoolers always brush their teeth together, put on their pyjamas, and do one "pyjama dance goodbye" before heading home. (Yeah, it's adorable.) Then, once we're back at our house, my daughter can go straight from the car to her pillow in less than 20 seconds.
The greatest part of this trick: It gives you, the parent, more time to watch Netflix or work on your night cheese or do whatever it is you'd like to do that does not involve wrangling a small child to bed.