Guest post by Whitney of Beauty in the Mess
Over the summer I was struck with how much I take for granted in regards to teaching my children safety skills. I’ve taught them not to play with scissors or knives. We don’t play with Daddy’s razor. We learned how to FaceTime Daddy if something ever happened (they love that one!). We keep the medicines and essential oils out of their reach. But if they were faced with a dangerous situation, I wasn’t sure how they would react.
We started with the basics and worked from there. These safety skills are continually talked about throughout the day and week at our house. I want my children to internalize these skills so if they are ever in the situation, they don’t have to think about it, they will just do it.
7 Safety Skills to Teach Your Child
1. Know how to call 9-1-1
And know what info the dispatcher will need (name, age, address, what happened). Every week, we practice our phone number and address. I don’t make it scary. They think it’s fun.
2. Make a Fire Plan
If there was a fire in your house, would you and your children know what to do? Where to go? I would love to think that if there was a fire, my children would run straight to the door to get outside or grab the fire ladder to climb down to safety. But the reality is that my kids would be scared and hide somewhere. Especially my youngest who cries when we go out to eat and they bring fajitas to the table.
3. Take a field trip to your local fire station
Call your local fire station and set up a time to take your children and invite your friends. The kids will be able to see the trucks up close and personal. While you’re there, ask if one of the firefighters would mind putting on their full gear in front of the children. This was huge for my kids, and we need to do it again.
If there happens to be a fire and your child is hiding in a closet scared, if a firefighter comes looking for them, the child needs to know they are safe. I’ll admit, the fire gear is a little intimidating. All three of my children were scared. The three-year-old warmed up to him enough to give him five, but the five-year-old and two-year-old were terrified. We need to go back so that the firefighter in their gear is safe and comfortable, not intimidating and scary.
4. Most strangers are good
The keyword here is most. This one gets tricky. I want my children to be polite to new people we meet, but I want them to stay safe. We stay away from using terms like “stranger danger” because not all strangers are dangerous. What we have taught them, is that no adult should ask a child for help. If an adult needs help finding their puppy, or directions to the nearest frozen yogurt place, they will ask an adult. If they ask my children for help, my children know they are to run away and find me or my husband.
5. Only eat candy with Mommy and Daddy’s permission
While this may seem a little silly, hear me out. Go take a look at your medicine cabinet and see it through the eyes of your children. Bright colors. Little pieces. Yummy looking liquids. Obviously you’re going to try and keep medicines locked and out of the way at your own home, but what happens when they go to someone else’s house? Teach them if they see medicine or candy out, stop, and go get an adult.
6. No one should ever touch your child in their private areas unless Mommy and/or Daddy is there
Even at the doctor’s office, you should be there with your child if the doctor has to examine that area. Please also teach your children that this should never be a secret. We don’t keep secrets from Mommy and Daddy. I try to stress that. I don’t want someone touching my child and my child be afraid to tell me because that person told them to keep it a secret. The whole thought makes me sick to my stomach, but we have to talk about this.
7. Let your child know that it is never too late to tell someone
Whether there is a bully on the playground hurting your child with words, someone they know touching them in places they shouldn’t, a friend trying to get them to eat this “candy” because it makes them feel funny, or someone trying to get them to keep a secret. It’s never too late to tell you. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Would they really lie about something like that? Ask questions, but never make them feel small. It probably took a lot of courage to get that secret out in the open, and they need to know that you love them no matter what.
Teaching these safety skills is ongoing. My children are 5, 3, 2, and 5 months, so the depth we go into each one is up to the maturity of each child. Like I said, my two year old is terrified of fire and firefighters in full gear. So we watch kid’s shows that talk about fire safety, try to find books that show fire and talk about fire safety. Anything to get them familiar with all things fire safety.
I hope you have found this list of safety skills helpful. By no means was this meant to scare or overwhelm you. There are just some topics that don’t come up in every day conversation that need to be addressed sometimes.
What safety skills would you add to the list?
Whitney is a lover of Jesus. She is a wife, mommy, lover of pumpkin spice lattes with a side of gluten free pumpkin bread, Disney addict. In her free time you can find her browsing Etsy or meandering through an antique store. You can check out her reviews, tips on using essential oils, and thoughts on motherhood at http://beautyinthemess.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.