Parenting

A Parent’s Guide To Supporting Your Child As They Learn To Drive

You have watched them take their first steps and attend their first day at school, yet nothing is so exciting and nerve-racking for parents, as when their child first begins learning to drive. Of course, while it is a step towards independence for many teens, there is still a great deal of support that parents can offer during the learning process. Keep reading to find out more.

Provide them with financial support

First of all, learning to drive can be expensive, something that makes it hard for younger people as they do not always have access to the funds to pay for it. The good news is that as parents you can definitely help your kids out here.

Some parents choose to pay for everything, but if you aren’t in a position to do that don’t worry as there are some other strategies that can help here as well. The first is to buy your kids a block of driving lessons for their birthday. In fact, by purchasing a block you can usually get some money off the total price. Also, by purchasing more than one at a single time you can help get your child properly started on their driving journey.

Alternatively, you may wish to provide them with the use of your vehicle during their learning period. Of course, you will need to be with them while they are still learning.

You may even wish to use the money for driving lessons and a car as a financial incentive to help them do their best in other areas of their life. For example, some parents allow kids to accrue points for successes such as doing well at school, or keeping on top of their chores that they can then trade in for cash for driving lessons.

Give them space and time to learn

Another important way that you can support your child as they learn to drive is to give them the time and space to dedicate to the activity. After all, learning a new skill is hard work, even for younger people, and it can be particularly tough if they already have a lot of other commitments such as school, after-school clubs, and work.

A Parent's Guide To Supporting Your Child As They Learn To Drive

With that in mind, it can be very helpful to sit down with your child and work out how to integrate learning to drive into their schedule, so they do not become overwhelmed. This may even mean reducing their responsibilities at home for a while, especially on the days when they have lessons or need to study for the theory test.

A Parent's Guide To Supporting Your Child As They Learn To Drive

Help them prepare for their test

While we are on the topic of the learners practice test, it’s worth discussing how a little support from parents can go a long way here. Indeed, there are many actions that you can take as a parent that will help your child maximize their chances of passing this first time, something that means they can progress on to complete their practical test!

The first of these is to help them track down some practice tests online. The advantages of running practice tests aren’t just that it helps them remember the content, but it also builds confidence and ensures they know what to expect when they do come to take the test for real, something that can make it much less stressful.

It’s also a smart idea to make yourself available to test them on the rules of the road, and other revision questions. You can even find some online tutorials for them to use too!

Provide them with access to a car outside of lessons

OK, so the idea of letting your teen that doesn’t currently have a valid license drive your car can be terrifying to many parents. After all, vehicles don’t tend to be cheap, and issues of safety are always at the front of a parent’s mind.

A Parent's Guide To Supporting Your Child As They Learn To Drive

However, there are a few things that you need to remember here. First of all, your teen shouldn’t be driving your car unless you are there with them. Also, studies show that teens are much more likely to pass their test the first time if they get practice additional to their lessons.

Of course, it’s important to consult their driving instructor when making this decision. The reason being that they will be able to tell you when your child is ready to be able to drive a car safely. Indeed, if they advise against it, it’s best to wait, as driving instructors have dual controls, something that will not be accessible to parents in the regular day-to-day car.

Refine your driving

You can also help support your child on the driving journey by taking a long hard look at your own driving skills and habits. The reason that this is so important is that kids learn by the example that we set them, and that means if we are being sloppy, or showing anger, they will see this as a signal that it is OK.

To that end, it’s a smart idea to think carefully about the way that we drive, especially when our kids are in the car, as it’s down to us to set a good example.

Be calm

It can be very difficult for a parent to watch their kid learn to drive, especially when they are worried about their safety. However, to be supportive is vital that you stay as calm and as patient as possible, even when they do make mistakes.

While driving may be second nature to use, our kids are actively learning and practicing these skills as they go, something that means they are under a heavy cognitive load, and that they are likely to feel stress and anxiety at times as well.

That is why if you are concerned that you will not be able to stay cool, calm, and collected if you need to take your child out in your own car, why not ask another family member or trusted adults to do this for you. After all, you don’t want to put an already strained relationship under more pressure if there is someone else that would be better suited for the task.

Photo credits: 1, 2, 3

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Jess Benoit

Jess is a homeschooling mama of 3, wife, gamer, Whovian, Nerd

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