As any driver training professional knows, parental involvement in the driver training process is one of the most overlooked yet essential factors in creating safer drivers. Research has consistently shown that when parents actively participate in their child’s driver training journey, it greatly enhances the learning experience and promotes safer driving habits among students. In this month’s edition of SPIDERnet, we’ll explore some actionable strategies to encourage parental support in your driving school.
Open Lines of Communication: A significant first step is establishing clear and consistent communication channels with parents. Parents will feel engaged in the process by creating a means to update them on their child’s progress regularly, highlight areas of improvement, and provide suggestions for additional practice. Consequently, your students will achieve better learning outcomes. Consider any or all of the following to help you engage your student’s parents:
- Encourage parents to ask questions and address any concerns they may have.
- Implement a parent communication platform or mobile app that allows for easy and secure messaging between driving school staff and parents.
- Set up a dedicated email address or phone line for parent inquiries and provide prompt responses.
- Conduct regular parent-teacher meetings or progress review sessions to discuss student performance and address concerns.
Practical Involvement Opportunities: Encourage parents to get involved practically by allowing them to practice driving skills with their children outside of formal lessons. This involvement strengthens the learning process and helps students gain confidence behind the wheel. Here are some great examples of what that could look like:
- Provide driving practice guides or booklets to parents that include step-by-step instructions for practicing specific skills with their child.
- Offer supervised practice sessions where parents can accompany their child during behind-the-wheel training, allowing them to learn best practices and reinforce the lessons taught by professional instructors.
- Recommend online resources, mobile apps, or interactive driving simulators that parents and students can use together for additional practice outside formal lessons.
- Parental coaching apps like the DriverZ Driving Coach can help parents monitor progress and be a part of their child’s driving journey without much extra effort.
Parent Education Resources: Every parent wants to keep their child safe, but when it comes to driver education, studies have shown that many may not be fully aware of the challenges and dangers their children face when they transition to independent, unsupervised driving. Provide educational materials and resources that empower parents to engage in their child’s driver training actively. Share information on state licensing requirements, safe driving practices, and common challenges new drivers face. Here are some great options to help equip parents with the knowledge they need to support their young drivers effectively:
- Create a resource section on your driving school website or a dedicated online portal where parents can access informative articles, videos, and downloadable materials on topics such as state licensing requirements, safe driving tips, and effective ways to support their child’s learning journey.
- Offer informational webinars or workshops tailored for parents, either in-person or through a virtual platform.
- Collaborate with local traffic safety organizations or insurance providers to offer educational materials and resources to parents.
Parent-Student Agreement: We’ve written about the importance of the effectiveness of a parent-student agreement in keeping new drivers safe on the road. Establish a mutual understanding between parents, students, and your driving school. This agreement sets a framework for cooperation and reinforces the shared commitment to safe driving. Here are a few tips to get started:
- Develop a comprehensive parent-student agreement document outlining expectations, responsibilities, and the importance of parental involvement in driver training.
- Communicate the agreement terms during the initial enrollment process and ensure parents and students understand and sign the document.
- Review the agreement with parents and students to address any questions or concerns they may have.
Parent Workshops and Information Sessions: Consider organizing workshops or information sessions specifically for parents. Cover topics such as understanding the driver training curriculum, reinforcing lessons at home, and effective supervision during practice sessions. These sessions provide a platform for sharing knowledge, addressing concerns, and building a community of supportive parents.
- Organize in-person or virtual workshops led by experienced driving instructors to educate parents about the driver training curriculum, safe driving practices, and effective ways to support their child’s learning.
- Invite guest speakers such as insurance agents, law enforcement representatives, or traffic safety experts to share their insights and answer parent questions.
- Create informative handouts or digital presentations summarizing critical points covered in the workshops and making
- them available to parents for reference.
- Don’t overlook the marketing value of these kinds of sessions. Consider coordinating with your local school system to run a workshop during a PTA or similar meeting. The opportunity to demonstrate your and your school’s expertise in keeping their children safe will profoundly impact parents wherever you can find them.
Feedback and Evaluation: Seek input from parents regarding their experience with your driving school. Conduct surveys or hold feedback sessions to understand their perspective on the effectiveness of the training program and areas for improvement. Actively listening to parental feedback demonstrates your commitment to continuous improvement. Not only does this help create better outcomes for your students, but input from their families can provide invaluable insight into what’s working and what could use some improvement with your business directly from the eyes of your customers.
- Consider regular surveys or feedback forms to gather input from parents about their experience with your driving school.
- Offer an online feedback portal where parents can provide anonymous feedback, suggestions, and comments.
- Implement a systematic evaluation process that includes periodic assessments of parental satisfaction and suggestions for improvement, and take action based on the feedback received.
Recognize and Celebrate Milestones: Learning to drive is a significant accomplishment and moment in anyone’s life. Most parents will take any opportunity to enjoy and reflect on the critical moments in their children’s lives, so find some ways to celebrate these student achievements and milestones with the whole family. Whether passing the permit test or obtaining a driver’s license, acknowledging these events creates a sense of accomplishment and encourages ongoing parental support throughout the training process.
- Develop a recognition program that rewards students for reaching essential milestones in their driver training, such as completing a certain number of practice hours, passing the permit test, or obtaining a driver’s license.
- Organize special events or ceremonies where parents can celebrate their child’s achievements.
- Provide certificates of accomplishment or personalized tokens of recognition to students and their parents to commemorate their progress.
Remember, effective parental involvement enhances the impact of your driver training program and contributes to safer roads. As such, your student’s parents and guardians are one of your best resources to reinforce critical lessons and provide continued oversight and guidance as they transition to fully independent drivers. By implementing these strategies, you can foster a strong partnership with parents, resulting in more confident and responsible young drivers, greater levels of community engagement and outreach, and parents even more satisfied with their choice of driving school than ever before.