As a parent, you want nothing more than to protect your child from the myriad dangers that occur in daily life. That's why you make sure to always cook your food properly, get your children inoculated annually and carefully research both daycare and after-school activities. Yet as many child rearing experts will tell you, it's just as important to teach children safety habits as it is to enforce them yourself. That way, you give your child the tools he or she needs to make the optimal decisions later in life. Here are a few tips when it comes to teaching your children to be safety conscious:
"Children need explanation to develop insight into the world."
1. Explain the rules
Many parents make rules and expect their children to abide blindly. Yet as a 2010 report on childhood development found, children benefit from proper explanation. That's because these commentaries provide context about rules like washing their hands or looking both ways before crossing an intersection. If children comprehend why they have to do something, this knowledge reinforces their own understanding and provides greater insight about the world itself. However, it's important not to go overboard with your explanations of safety guidelines. The more succinct and memorable your message is, the greater the chance your child will adhere to it.
2. Make it fun
Safety isn't a game, but as the same 2010 report noted, demonstration is another important way in which children grow and learn. Playing games is a great way to take a decidedly serious topic and make it easier to comprehend. As Mom.me explained, one of the best activities for teaching safety is the "What If" game. Here, you ask your kids what they might do if they see fire on a stove or if a stranger came up to them on the playground. Not only do you information and context, but you also do so in a setting that better mimics reality. Plus, children will feel more engaged as they come up with answers to these queries on their own, giving them a vested interest.
3. Consider customization
No two children see the world the same way. While some children might adore horses, others spend their days catching bugs in the backyard. As a result, you should frame safety discussions so that they cater to the individual child. Use examples based on favorite hobbies to help children make connections to concepts. If a child loves baseball, you might want to play catch while talking safety tips to better keep his or her interest. If your son or daughter is an avid reader, you can go over safety material together. The more of a connection they feel to the ideas being presented, the more likely they'll engage with these concepts. Just be sure you've tailored any talks to his or her individual level of development and maturity.
"Parents must emphasize childrens' natural instincts."
4. Teach personal awareness
Dr. Michele Borba is a renowned expert on childhood development and the author of several books. When it comes to teaching young children safety, she believes that more parents need to emphasize a child's own natural instincts, according to an article she wrote for Today. By that she means that children have an inherent ability to understand dangerous situations. Though teaching them skills is vital, this ability forms the foundation of their understanding. It's crucial that children know to trust in this gut feeling, as it's one of a child's greatest tools in safeguarding his or her personal well-being. Even still, it's important you talk to your children about these feelings and ground them in real-world know-how and applications.
No matter how well you teach your children proper safety, accidents are still bound to happen, and that's where you can turn to your local CareWell Urgent Care Center. With facilities across the East Coast, CareWell can treat a number of childhood ailments, from bumps and bruises to twisted muscles, while also serving as your go-to source for annual vaccinations.