Bringing up children is such a joyful time with so many wonderful milestone moments from birth to even after they have left home. Learning to drive gave our family so many more opportunities and memories: From that first journey; school trips; travelling to places we wouldn’t have been able to reach (both locally and abroad); making life easier in general and chalking up unforgettable milestone moments.
The first car journey
Suzie Hayman, Family Lives says, “Baby’s first outing into the open air is often the trip home from a hospital birth, at a few days old. At this age, their eyes won’t be coordinated and they may keep their fists clenched. In fact, they’re not even sure at this stage where they end and you begin which is why they investigate their own hands, fingers and toes with as much curiosity as the bits of you they can reach. But they recognise your voice and show a preference for it, and want to be held and rocked and to hear you. Safety comes first in a car however so they need to be strapped into that seat, but keep a hands-on close connection and sing and talk to them on the trip home and go back to cuddling and holding as soon as you can.”
Having a car made that first trip home from the hospital much easier for us; plus it meant that we could take our newborn bundles home at a time convenient for us and not anybody else. A top-tip is to remember a hat and blanket when leaving the hospital, as even when it may seem hot as babies cannot regulate their temperatures properly and it will be a lot colder than inside the hospital. Plus the car was great for driving around to try to get the boys to sleep!
It was from this very first journey that we wanted to ensure that our children were safe and comfortable in the car for all their important moments. I remember our youngest coming out of hospital it was such a frightening time, as although he was our fourth born, he was very tiny arriving at 35 weeks gestation. But being able to bring him home on that first journey gave such a wave of relief that he was well enough to come home with the rest of the family. Car safety has always been high on our list of priorities but this time it was even more so. Over time buying lots of good quality car seats can be costly so it is good to go for ones that will last – such as The new Graco All in One car seat which is the only car seat you’ll ever need – as it grows with the child from birth to twelve years old (0 to 36kg).
The Car Journey to School
Suzie Hayman, Family Lives says, “Their first day of school is the end of an era. It can feel like a terrible loss as they go off to form bonds with other people. You might find it really hard to let go and shed tears on your way home. Or you can see it as setting them off on adventures, leaving you with time to develop yourself too. Whatever you feel will be communicated to your child. Be apprehensive and your child may feel anxious. Be excited about the possibilities for both of you and they will be resilient. The trick is to get your mind around your feelings beforehand and talk it through with family and friends. Rather than leave the first trip to the first day, practise beforehand. Drive the route together, talking over when it’s going to happen, how it might feel, what you can both do to make it a positive experience. “
I remember when our second son started school I gave birth to his younger brother making it harder for him to leave us behind. A car made a huge difference for us when it came to taking the children to school. I found it best to leave plenty of time to account for traffic, which also gave us more time to talk to one another – both before and after the school day. Also knowing where there was plenty of parking also helped alleviate any stress. A wonderful milestone has got to be when our third son started school – he was so excited to be going to “big school” and joining his older brother.
Not attending the local school also meant that friends lived further away and so having a car helped meet ups with friends in the holidays, or getting to more exotic party destinations than the local village hall. Also having such big age gaps between the boys meant that once our oldest son turned eleven years old – having a car made it possible to safely get them all to the schools that best suited their needs.
Car Making Hobbies and Interests Easier
A car has made outside of school activities much more accessible – with milestones such as the excitement of receiving their badge and certificate for swimming their first width; when they got their first medal in a race; their first karate belt and just generally belonging to a community in their different clubs. As a family having a car has allowed us to go ice-skating, bowling, and the cinema and so on too – celebrating not only those first but those times as a family – not to mention the happiness of the winner! Also we have been enjoying outdoor activities such as a trip to the forest and other attractions such as theme parks. Holidays have been much easier as we can travel with our belongings comfortably to destinations – there is nothing like that special moment when one of the children first spots the sea. When driving in Europe it has been even more essential to ensure we have the right car seat for each of the children at each of the different stages. Again the Graco All in One car seat means you do not have to worry about whether your child has put on weight or grown as it is suitable for every stage.
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