I’ve noticed that many of the same skills it takes to be a good driver are the same skills it takes to be a good parent. Knowing this may help you decide what is a good course of action, and also where you might want to make some little changes.
Driving Skills and Parenting Skills
Your average guy can quote off a list of “good driver” skills without much thought. Whether our driver’s ed classes stuck with us, or it came from our Dads, or if it just absorbed after reading so many car magazines, we know the rules of good driving even if we don’t always follow them.
The first rule is of course, Defensive Driving. By driving in a way that assumes others are morons, you lessen your chance for an accident. Yes, it is perfectly legal for you to drive in the lane next to the lady who’s giant Ford Truck keeps bouncing all over the road, but it isn’t very smart. Sooner or later, a combination of bumps, cell phone, and eyeliner is going to cause a swerve over into your lane and you don’t need that kind of headache, so you pass quickly or you hang back.
Defensive Parenting is good policy as well. You know that junior takes those corners into the bedrooms a little faster than he can control, so when you hear his footsteps, you wait for him to get into the room before you head out. Yes, he has to learn sometime, but today isn’t the day for a head smack into your knee caps.
Baby proofing is a form of defensive parenting. Yes, he should stay out of the cabinets, but he won’t. So, you install locks on them. No issue ever comes up this way. Take things a step further. As you leave a room take a look back before you turn out the light. Is there anything breakable or important you have left within reach? Is there anything dangerous laying out? Is there anything that will make little Sally scream with rage when you try and take it away after she sees it? If so, just get rid of it.
A good driver anticipates the road ahead. If you have been around this curve before, you know whether to slow down a little extra when it’s wet. If you’ve never seen over the blind hill, you stay a little more alert as you crest the top. If you need to get off at the next exit, there is no reason not to get into the right hand lane now to avoid a last second rush across three lanes when traffic tightens up.
The same kind of anticipation works wonders for baby. Are those stairs over on that wall. No harm in changing the way you follow Sally to put you between her and the stairs to avoid a last second scramble to avert disaster. Maybe Junior has never been interested in the paper shredder before, but putting it out of reach is good policy.
Planning Ahead with Kids
No self respecting man gets in his car and heads off on a three thousand mile cross country trip without a little prep work. Clean out the trunk so there is room for your stuff? Check. Check the tires? Check. Oil Change needed before going? Check. Weather report says snow? Leave a day early.
Planning ahead with Junior is just as important. Going to a restaurant? Take toys that are not balls (so they don’t roll away if dropped) and are soft (so they don’t make noise on the table) and are clean-able (you know why).
Diaper bags fall squarely into this category as well. Extra pants just in case a diaper leaks? Check. Extra diapers? Check. Wet wipes? Check. Sanitizing gel? (Why would there even be a goat pen at the mall?) Check.
Also, use planning ahead for baby’s schedule. Going to friends house for dinner. Will be there for three hours during evening. Make sure baby gets early afternoon nap to avoid volcanic action two hours in. If that doesn’t work, take the playpen so he has a place to sleep.
Anything I missed? Drop a comment!