When you have kids, you become acutely aware of how fast they grow up. There are many milestones in a child’s life, and each one reminds you that they are growing up, and doing so very quickly.
One of the biggest is learning to drive. As a parent, you are pleased to see them gain a skill that you know they need, and one that will stand them in good stead for the future, but it is also a very worrying time. You want them to benefit from the independence being able to drive brings, but at the same time are acutely aware that driving can be a dangerous occupation for the new driver.
Simply put, you fear for their safety. Something that is understandable, given the statistics surrounding new drivers and accidents. Fortunately, there are things you can do to help your children to learn to drive, and become safe drivers.
Lead by example
The, first, and most important thing you can do is to set a good example. Numerous studies show that children of parents who drive in a responsible and legal way are far more likely to drive that way themselves. Children learn their behaviour patterns mostly from their parents. If you are an aggressive, irresponsible driver, the chances are your kids will be too.
Start the teaching process early
Strangely, it is never too early to start to teach your children to drive. Now, I am not advocating putting your toddler on your lap, and letting him or her steer. What I am talking about here is getting them used to things like spotting and understanding road signs from an early age.
Kids love playing games in the car. You can start by getting them to look out for certain signs on journeys, and teach them what each one mean.
The more second nature this becomes for your children the better. It is one less thing for them to worry about learning when they start driving.
Practice makes perfect
While we are on the subject of teaching skills early, we should talk about giving your kids the chance to experience taking control of a vehicle. Letting them steer a ride on lawnmower, or enjoy go-karting will help them to learn how to steer a vehicle, and maintain control. When they get in a car, they will feel far more confident about driving it than they would if they had never driven anything before.
Once they do start to learn to drive try to give them as much practice as possible. If you have to pop out to the shops yell up and get your teenager to take you. They may not always welcome the interruption, but the more practice they get the more likely it is that they will pass their test first time, and become safe drivers.
Fit a monitoring device to their car
If you can afford to do so, it is worth fitting a monitoring device like the ones described on this page, to your child’s car. These devices monitor how your child drives. They will provide both of you with information that you can use to identify any bad habits, and do so as early as possible.