Teaching your kids to drive is the best gift you can give yourself this Christmas. In fact it is the best gift you can give any time. This gift lasts a life time. It promises peace of mind for you and your kids.
Not kids any more
You need to understand that if your son or daughter is learning to drive, they are not kids any more. Driving on the road needs very adult decision making skills. Treat them like the young adults they are.
Make teaching your kids to drive fun
Learning has to be fun. Everyone learns better if learning is fun. Make a decision to make it fun. This is so important. Things will happen that won’t be much fun. Your learner will run over the kerb. They will get scared and slam on the brakes. These things will happen. Your role is to make it ok for these things to happen.
A calm voice coming from the passenger seat is the best thing to help a learner through their difficult moments. Remember this is a life time gift. You yell at your learner and you could ruin your chance to pass on this gift. Yell and they will shut down or yell back and you have blown it. It is that simple.
Cars can be fixed
If you normally treat your car as a sacred thing it is time to change. Cars can be fixed or replaced. Wheels can be repaired. Remember you are making this fun. Help your learner not worry about how you will react if they damage your precious car. The car is a learning tool. A thing that is helping you give a precious gift.
Get good help
Teaching your kids to drive can be really tough. If you are worried, get help. Talk to family and friends who have done it before. Ignore the horror stories. Listen to people who have done it well. Talk to driving schools. Find one who takes the time to listen and offer advise.
Let a driving instructor do the hard bit
If you are worried about starting out, get a driving instructor to help. They can get your learner to the steering, stopping and giving way bit. Go out with your learner and the instructor once they are past the hard bit. Watch your learner drive. Then you know what they can and can’t do.
Be ready to learn too
Your learner might know more about the road rules that you do. They have just passed their learner test. They will know the current rules. You need to know them too. Study up so you know what you are doing. Don’t rely on “I’ve been driving for thirty years, I know what I am doing”. Most parent s would fail a driving test in five minutes. Sorry to burst your bubble but it’s true. Study up.
The greatest gift
Once your learner is a confident, safe driver you will have given them a great life gift. You will have given them independence and freedom. Terrifying but true. Take the time to do it well. You only get one chance. If you are struggling get help. Don’t worry about messing it up. Just keep trying and keep making it fun. You can do this!
Image: by charlesjrichardson | Flickr