Share Your Love of Cars with Your Kids
Your daughter's on Facebook and your son is playing a video game, while your dream of raising do-it-yourself kids seems to be fading like an unloved car's rain-spotted, wash-me-now finish. Here, are some ways to help sustain the love of cars at the heart of American culture, teach your kids responsibility and have some fun:
Set an example
Make caring for your car a family activity. Kids of all ages learn by doing, rather than by being told what to do. Let them join you in simple do-it-yourself auto activities. One father was surprised that his 7-year-old daughter was practically tearing the gauge from his hands to check the air pressure in the family wagon's tires. Once he got past his over-protective fear of letting her get her hands a little dirty, he found that her dexterous fingers got the job done just as fast (and just as well) as he could do it himself. Now it's "her" job.
Teenagers can be brought in on family car maintenance jobs such as changing the oil and filter and checking tire pressure. Your kids may try to avoid these activities, but not for long if you lead by example-express enjoyment and pride in taking care of your car. You're bound to get their attention by comparing the cost of doing it yourself to paying someone else to do it. Add up a year's worth of costs and the savings will be obvious. Plus they'll get the satisfaction of using their own two hands.
Make a personal connection
Car washing has an advantage over other car maintenance activities in that it's fun for kids of all ages, especially in the summer. But there are more technical jobs you can extend to your older children. By involving them in advanced car-care, you show you trust them. Because you'll both have the same goal (changing the oil, fixing a dent, changing a tire), you're already on the same team.