Every parent knows there are stages in your child’s life where big things happen. One of the biggest in when they get close to the age where they can learn to drive. Undoubtedly, they’ll be super excited! It’s finally their time to shine; no longer will they have to rely on you for lifts everywhere, and they’ll never have to get on a packed bus again!
It’s all fun and smiles from their point of view, but the parent’s perspective is a little different. You’ve got a lot more on your plate, and plenty to think about. Bearing that in mind, we’re bringing you an article packed full of things to consider before teaching your child to drive. Hopefully, it should help you prepare for everything, while also giving your child the best chance to succeed at their driving exam.
How Young Should You Start Teaching Them?
Depending on what state you live in, your child can legally learn to drive at differing ages. Some states have laws allowing 14-year-olds to drive, while others say no one under 17 can drive. But, these laws apply to people driving on the roads. It doesn’t mean you can’t take your child somewhere and teach them to drive away from the roads. This begs the question, how young should you think about teaching them?
Personally, I think 14 is way too young to start driving, even if the law allows it. In most places, 16 is the age at which kids can take their driving exam. So, I think 15 is probably the ideal time to start teaching them. Head to an open space somewhere – parking lots are a good idea – and teach them how to drive. This will prepare them for when you’re legally allowed to take them onto the roads and teach them some more. By starting a little earlier than their 16th birthday, you can make sure they don’t have to wait as long until they’re good enough to take their test.
Do They Need Proper Lessons?
There are plenty of parents that live and die by the mantra that they can teach their children everything to do with driving. If you or your partner are very involved with cars, then you might have extensive knowledge to teach them. However, driving schools still hold a lot of information you may not have. They’ve got up-to-date teachings that school your child on current driving rules and regulations. I mean, let’s face it, after years of driving, you slip into a lot of bad habits. Remember, examiners will judge your child on every little thing they do – and it needs to be by the book.
So, if you’re wondering whether or not your child needs lessons, then the answer is probably yes. The only exception is if you are a driving instructor yourself! In this scenario, you’ll know how to teach them by the book, and understand exactly what’s wanted from them in the exam. Otherwise, they’ll need lessons from proper driving instructors. But, some children may need fewer than others. It depends on how much you can teach them at home. You should try and go out with them as often as you can so they gain a basic understanding of how to drive. Then, book some lessons, so they learn the technical aspects and maneuvers. This should give them the perfect driving education they need, while also ensuring you don’t have to spend too much on lessons.
How Do You Find A Good Enough Instructor?
We’ve established that, in the majority of cases, your child will need proper lessons. So, this throws up another question; how do you find an instructor good enough to teach them? Naturally, you want the best for your kids. A good instructor can help them pass first time, while also making them a good driver. Plus, this is beneficial for you as it should mean you don’t need to pay for lots of lessons. If the instructor is good, they should only need a handful until they’re ready to take their test.
The best way to find an instructor is to search online and look at reviews. Once you’ve had a quick search in your area, speak to other parents and ask if they used certain instructors. On the driving school website, they should also brag about their pass rate. If they’ve got a good pass rate, then you know they’re a good instructor. Read what people say about them to figure out if you should spend your money or not. Don’t choose someone with really bad reviews and a dreadful pass rate!
Should You Buy Them A Car?
This is one of the biggest considerations for parents during this time of their kid’s life. Should you buy them a car? It’s very difficult to come to a conclusion here, as it depends on you and your financial situation. Naturally, if you can’t afford to buy them a car – don’t. Let them share yours until you or they have saved enough to buy one. But, if you’ve been saving for a long time and have the funds available, then it’s definitely better for them to have a separate car. They won’t pester you for your car keys all the time, and there’ll be no issues with both of you needing the car at once.
In reality, buying your child a car is the dream scenario. So, if you have a child approaching the right age, it might be a good idea to start saving. It’ll be way more convenient than sharing a car, but you should also make sure your child can afford to run the vehicle. You don’t want to be responsible for buying fuel for them, so, ensure they’ve got the money to do so. If anything, buying them a car can encourage them to find a part-time job. If you do end up sharing a car, try and establish ground rules at the start. Maybe give them a certain time where the car is theirs, and a period where it’s yours. Also, set the rule that they have to give any siblings or people in the family lifts too. So, for example, you could give them the car on weekends, but if their little brother/sister needs a lift somewhere, they have to give it to them.
What Car Should You Buy Your Child?
If you do choose to buy your child a car, the next big question is what car should you buy? There’s no definitive choice here, but there is a certain type of car that is better than others. Ideally, you want to get them something that’s safe, easy to drive, and not too big or quick. A fast car in the hands of a teenage is never a good combination! Stick to small hatchbacks like Ford Fiestas, and steer clear of big SUV’s, etc.
Some parents are starting to follow this question up with whether or not you should buy electric cars for your kids. Personally, I think this is a good idea for many reasons. Mainly, it helps them save on fuel costs, and kids usually drive a lot. So, they don’t end up wasting their money on fuel, and they also stop damaging the environment. You don’t have to do this, I just think it’s a very good idea.
How Can I Help Them Pass Their Exam?
Finally, you want to think about anything you can do to help your child pass their driving exam. As a parent, there’s plenty you can do to help them on this little journey of theirs. Some of which we’ve already discussed, like teaching them to drive and finding them a good instructor. But, you could also do things like buying them books and resources to help prepare them for the written part of the exam. This will go a long way to providing them with the knowledge they need to pass their driving exam.
Along with this, you need to think about how you can help them while teaching them to drive. Taking them out in the car is only one step in the process. The type of teacher you are will play a huge role in how well they learn basic driving skills. If you’re too tough on them, then it will only make them stressed to the point where they feel like they know nothing and don’t want to drive. So, try and be lenient with them, congratulate them when they do well and give constructive criticism when they make mistakes. This keeps them confident, which is so important for learner drivers – they thrive on confidence and encouragement!
So, there you have it; the top six things to think about before teaching your child to drive. When you’ve considered all these things, you’ll be far better off when the time comes to start chucking them behind the wheel. As a result, your child should end up in a much better position when they eventually take their exam. They’ll be well prepared, and it will all be thanks to their brilliant parents!