There are many milestones in a child’s life: first words, first steps, and potty training are just a few. Then there are birthdays, proms, graduations, and before you know it, your child is ready to take on the world as a responsible young adult. One milestone that many young teens anticipate is learning to drive. While learning to drive definitely takes time, the best way to demonstrate the rules of the road to your child is with patience, persistence, and of course, driving expertise. Here are just a few tips for introducing your children to the rules of the road.
Don’t Be Pushy
Just because most states allow children to apply for a learner’s permit as young at 15 or 16 years old doesn’t mean that your child will be ready at that age. Children have wildly different comfort zones, and just because you were ready to hit the road the day you turned 16 doesn’t mean your child will feel the same way. Bring it up in casual conversation only and emphasize that you’re ready to help your child develop their skills as soon as they feel ready to do so.
Let Your Child Get To Know The Car
Once your child feels ready to start the process of learning to drive, it’s time to introduce them to the car itself. Allow them to sit in the driver’s seat, and explain to them the various parts of a car’s interior. The gas, the brakes, the gearshift, the windshield wipers, the front and side mirrors, and any other features worth discussing. This information may be too basic for children with a base interest in automobiles, in which case they may be more engaged in the lesson if you include some more technical knowledge. Show them your car’s flooring and discuss how car manufacturers began to install mass backing as the standard backing around 1990. Talking about the way cars used to be built helps provide context when considering how many technological improvements have been made to automobiles over the years.
Emphasize Importance of Safety And Auto Maintenance Education
Before your child even thinks about putting the key in the ignition, it’s imperative for them to have a basic understanding of the most common auto safety rules and maintenance procedures. This includes teaching them that tires should be rotated every 7,500 miles, or whenever the manufacturer recommends, and that the oil should be changed every 3,000 to 7,500 miles. Make sure they understand that keeping up with these maintenance procedures is essential to extending the life of the vehicle as a whole and staying safe on the road.
Hit The Streets
After your child has demonstrated through participation that they’re ready to get started, drive them to a large open space, such as a parking lot, and allow them to get a feel for the vehicle. As you progress, it’s important to remember to stay calm, not critical. Take the time to discuss where your child is improving and what they still need to work on. After a while, your child will be confident and ready to take their driver’s test.
Ultimately, teaching your child to drive just takes patience and persistence. Never be pushy, lead by example, and always be available to offer support.