Teaching Kids To Drive: 8 Tips For Parents

Posted by Ben Davidson about 4 months ago

Teaching kids to drive can be a proud moment for many parents. What a lot of parents don’t realise is that teaching someone to drive can be very challenging. Just like learning to drive, it can be worth learning to instruct before getting in your car with your child. Below are just a few valuable tips on teaching a child to drive. 

Make sure they have a learner’s permit

Before your child can get behind the wheel of a car, they need a learner’s permit. Applying for a permit is different in every state - the minimum age can vary and there may be parent signatures required. Look into these requirements before teaching your child to drive.

Know what is expected in the test

It’s important that you teach your child not just to drive but to pass their test. You might not see much use in teaching your child to always keep both hands on the wheel or to parallel park, but this may be necessary to pass the test in your state. You should also teach your child local road laws and road signs as this may be necessary for the written part of the test. There are practice test programs that your child may be able to use to prepare - you can learn more here about these resources. You may even be able to research local DMV test routes. 

Choose a suitable car

If you drive a large or powerful car, consider whether this is an appropriate vehicle for learning in. It could be a more sensible option to buy your child a small low-engined car. Ideally, you should choose something cheap - both to buy and to insure. 

Give clear instructions early

When it comes to giving your child instructions, aim to be clear and concise. Try to give these instructions early so that your child has enough time to plan for each turn. You don’t want them to be panicking to make a last minute right turn as they could make dangerous mistakes.

Keep criticism constructive

Criticism is necessary when teaching someone to drive, however this criticism should be constructive. Highlight mistakes but tell your child what they can do to improve. It’s important to also offer lots of praise.

Stay calm and be patient

Shouting at your child or grabbing the door handle is likely to make things worse. As scary as it can be to get in a car with a learner, you should try to be as calm and as patient as possible. 

Vary up your lessons

Each time you go out, make sure that you’re not driving the same route at the same time. Varying up road conditions is much better practice. Try driving during busy periods and quiet periods, when it’s sunny and when it’s raining and on different types of road. 

Be a good example

Whenever you go in the driving seat, make sure that you set a good example so that your kid doesn’t pick up any
bad habits. Make an effort to drive at a sensible speed, use your blinkers and try to keep both hands on the wheel. It could also be beneficial to narrate your driving to help explain to your kid how they should be driving.
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